Looking for strategies to expand your business offerings? This deceptively simple question just might be what your team needs to spark creative thinking: “How might we ____?”

In an article by Harvard Business Review article, author Warren Berger reports that those three words are considered the secret phrase utilized by top innovators to launch their brainstorming sessions.

Many times when employees are asked to brainstorm about their product or service, they may start the process using language that includes the challenges they plan to encounter which can psychologically inhibit creativity. Shifting the question from “How can we do this” to “How might we do this” avoids creating a judgment on whether something is even possible to a much more encouraging tone, opening up more possibilities. Though it is simple, each word in the phrase has an intended purpose. “How” encourages descriptive language, “might” gives the floor to a variety of possibilities, and “we” creates a sense of inclusion and teamwork.

Endorsed by companies like P&G, Google, Facebook and IDEO, the “How might we” method to sparking innovation keeps employees asking the right questions with open-ended and positive wording. Proponents of this simple phrase declare that using it frequently yields results. Harness the power of language by using this simple phrase in your next brainstorming session to keep the creative juices flowing – and hopefully reveal some exciting new ideas!

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