How to's

From WikID

What Are How To's?

Figure 1: Example of H2's

‘How to’s’ (see figure 1) are problem statements written in the form of “How to…” (How to’s are often written as H2 for short). Examples are: How to carry luggage in the airport? How to transport deep-frozen food in a shop? How to supply people with beverages at a festival?

The “How to..” way of phrasing is dynamic and inviting. The idea is to create a wide variety of problem descriptions. In this way different perspectives are briefly shown, and the problem is described from these different points of view. There are rules in force such as ‘postpone judgment’, ‘associate on the ideas of others’ and ’strive for quantity rather than quality’. The How to’s are open questions that stimulate your creativity almost immediately. The various “how to” questions give a comprehensive overview of the problem that you are working on.

When Can You Use How To’s (H2’s)?

‘How to’s’ are most helpful at the start of idea generation. With ‘How to’s’ the problem is reformulated in many different ways and ideas come up easily.

How to Generate How To’s (H2’s)?


Starting Point

The starting point is the result of the problem analysis stage. Often it is a short description of the problem or a problem statement.

Expected Outcome

The outcome of the ‘How to’s’ are various problem reformulations in the form of How to’s. A benefit of this method is that the problem reformulations reflect different points of view towards the problem.

Possible Procedure

  1. Provide a short description of the problem and invite the group to name all important stakeholders and aspects of the problem (you could use a mind map for this).
  2. Invite the group to name as many ‘How to’s...’ as possible, seen from the different points of view (stakeholders) and seen from the different aspects. You can use a flip chart to write down the ‘How to’s...’ or post-its.
  3. Evaluate the most important common elements of the ‘How to’s..’.
  4. Select a number of ‘How to’s...’ that cover the different points of view.
  5. Formulate “one single concrete target” (e.g. one final ‘How to’ to continue with).

References and Further Reading

  • Tassoul, M. (2006) Creative Facilitation: a Delft Approach, Delft: VSSD.



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