Method overview

If you want the best solutions, start by asking the right questions. Critical thinkers are adept at uncovering what the central focus of exploration ought to be, rather than accepting a problem as given. By using phrases that encourage broad thinking, Statement Starters jump-start discussions toward solving the right problem in the best way.

As their main objective, Statement Starters encourage restating problems as invitations for exploration. Instead of being dictatorial, leaving little room for deviation from a predetermined type of solution, these phrases ask your team to consider various alternatives. For example, a prescriptive statement like, “We need a device to help people listen to music” contains an embedded solution. Instead, a Statement Starter might convert the challenge into a question like this: “How might we help people listen to music?” This phrasing leaves room for multiple interpretations of the challenge, thereby increasing the possibility of finding new and better solutions.

The benefits of this method

  • Challenges your assumptions.
  • Helps you see different perspectives.
  • Provides a direction for problem solving.
  • Invites divergent thinking.


Quick guide

  • Identify a set of problems or opportunities.
  • State each issue in the form of a short phrase.
  • Add a “starter” to the beginning of each phrase.
  • Example 1: How might we_____?
  • Example 2: In what ways might we_____?
  • Example 3: How to_____?
  • Pick the best statement starter for each problem.
  • Use the new phrasing as a basis for ideation.

Helpful hints

  • Consider adding a “starter” to a research insight.
  • Don’t embed solutions into problem statements.
  • Use voting to pick the best problem statement.

Combining LUMA methods into design recipes

The methods in the LUMA System are great on their own, but they are really powerful when combined into design recipes. Just like when you combine ingredients to make a tasty meal, you can also combine design methods to address challenges such as improving workplace culture or uncovering customer insights.

An example of a recipe from LUMA Workplace®:

Want to learn more about LUMA methods?