Learn how to to make your Opportunities more inspiring.
Opportunities play a key role in TheyDo. They help to frame challenges in a way that invites creative Solutions, while also making sure that those Solutions stay aligned to those challenges. But there is an art to crafting Opportunities, and the difference between an inspiring and a non-inspiring Opportunity can be quite subtle. To help demystify this, we cover 6 practical tips that will help you to make your Opportunities as inspiring as possible.
#1 Frame your Opportunities as “How Might We” questions
“How Might We” (HMW) questions are used in design thinking to reframe a problem or challenge into an Opportunity that sparks creative Solutions. Doing so encourages open-ended, optimistic, and collaborative problem-solving. HMW-questions are often used as input for brainstorming sessions, so any Opportunity phrased in this way should spark many different Solutions right away. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all template on how to frame a HMW question, but try starting out with these:
HMW help [target group] to [goal] when [context]
HMW [how to improve] the [Service/Product/Pain Point/etc.] for [target group]
For example: If you learned that many people do not pay their taxes before the deadline, you could reframe that into an Opportunity as follows: ‘How might we (HMW) ensure more people pay their taxes before the deadline?’. Other examples include:
HMW ensure more people pay their taxes before the deadline?
HMW help employees stay productive and healthy when working from home?
HMW make customers feel that their information is safe and secure when creating an account?
HMW simplify the checkout process for people with a visual impairment?
HMW improve the appeal of our website for younger people?
Tip: It isn’t mandatory to literally put ‘How Might We’ or ‘HMW’ in the title of every Opportunity you create. However, doing so can serve as a good reminder of the format and help to keep your Opportunties consistent.
#2 Focus your Opportunities on the root problems of your customers
Make sure your Opportunities focus on root customer problems, instead of desired outcomes or symptoms of those problems. In order to do this, simply ask ‘why’. This allows you to target the underlying motivations or behaviours that result in the outcomes you’re tying to target. TheyDo helps you to connect Opportunities to root ploblems, by enabling you to link Insights to Opportunities directly. That way, you’ll never have to wonder what root problems an Opportunity addresses.
For example; if you’re trying to get helpdesk calls down, try to solve the problem of why users are calling the helpdesk, not the calling itself.
#3 Avoid suggesting Solutions in your Opportunities
Keep your Opportunities completely independent from Solutions. Or in other words; Don’t mix in any Solutions in the title or description of your Opportunities. Doing so will restrict the range of possible Solutions that an Opportunity can inspire.
For example: If users are unsure about how to fill in their tax form, you could reframe this into the Opportunity ‘HMW use a chatbot to help users file their taxes’. However this will only result in Solutions related to chatbots, overlooking other potential Solutions. If we simply leave out the chatbot altogether and rephrase it as ‘HMW help users to file their taxes’ the possible range of Solutions instantly becomes greater; A chatbot is one possible solution, but so is an easier tax filing process, or simplifying the language used in the application form. As a final edit, we could look to tip #2 and focus on the root problems by reframing it into “HMW make users feel confident they are filing their taxes correctly”.
#4 Keep your Opportunities broad, yet specific to the root problem
Another aspect you can tweak in your Opportunities is how broadly or narrowly you phrase them. The trick here is to make your Opportunities broad enough to inspire multiple solutions, but specific enough to not lose sight of the root problem you’re trying to solve.
For example: Let’s say that users spend a lot of time checking their tax submission for mistakes. A narrow opportunity to target this would be: ‘HMW help users to check their tax submission for mistakes’. It is workable, but quite narrow; there are only a handful of possible Solutions. On the other end, an Opportunity is too broad when there are so many possible Solutions that you don’t even know where to begin. For example; ‘HMW redesign the tax submission process’. In such cases, try to split up this Opportunity into several smaller Opportunities. Somewhere in the middle between narrow and broad sits ‘HMW support users to create tax submissions that they feel confident about’. A mistake-checker could be one of the Solutions to that Opportunity, but so is a chatbot, or more explanation on what every required field means.
#5 Phrase your Opportunities positively
Stating your Opportunities positively can generate more Solutions. Positive language sparks brainstorming and opens up a wide range of potential Solutions, while keeping up the morale and engagement of your team members and other stakeholders. Furthermore, this approach shifts the focus of your Opportunites to growth and improvement instead of fixating on problems, leading to more effective and sustainable Solutions.
For example: Instead of phrasing an Opportunity as ‘HMW make the return process les difficult’, phrase it as ‘HMW make the return process quick and intuitive’.
#6 Make sure your Opportunities are ‘MECE’
After you’ve created several Opportunities, it’s time to make sure they are ‘MECE’: Mutually Exclusive, yet Collectively Exhaustive.
Mutually Exclusive means that every Opportunity is distinctly separate and does not overlap with other Opportunities
Collectively Exhaustive means that together they cover all important root problems.
Making sure your Opportunities are ‘MECE’ will help you to prioritize, because there won’t be any confusion about which Opportunity covers what. Furthermore, it will also help to generate distinctly different Solutions that cover all important root problems.
Other things to keep in mind
For the cherry on top, here are a few things we’ve seen TheyDo experts do:
Check for similar Opportunities before you create a new one in order to avoid duplicates.
Tag Opportunities to help you and others find and filter them.
Aim for 5 to 8 Opportunities per Journey in order to keep the number of Opportunities manageable.
Want to know if you have done it right? Use this checklist to quickly check if your Opportunities are as effective as they can be.
☐ Finishes the question ‘How might we …?
☐ Inspires different solutions right away
☐ Focuses on a root-cause problem
☐ Does not suggest any solutions
☐ Is defined broadly enough to be understood by most people
☐ Is framed in a positive way
☐ Is mutually exclusive, yet collectively exhaustive (MECE)
☐ Doesn’t have any existing duplicates in TheyDo