Do you know the How Now Wow matrix?

I couldn’t find where the concept originally came form, although the oldest popular reference I could find was from the great website gamestorming.

The How | Now | Wow matrix is a gamified way to sort out ideas. It’s used at the ‘converging stage’ – when you have come up with lots of ideas or options and need to move towards a decision. The purpose is not to give you a final ‘stand out idea (you can use multi-voting for that)

Below you can see the graphic (I also have it embedded in this excellent Mural template here).

There are two scales, On the X-axis (yes, the concept of those X-Y graphs you learnt in school is now useful) you have a scale of ‘Normal Idea’ to ‘Original Idea’.

For example, in the context of the Ideation stage of Design Thinking, if you have an idea that’s ‘normal’, maybe it’s an idea you know is already being implemented elsewhere in the same context, it would be on the left-hand side. If you have an idea that is totally original – you made it up, never heard of anyone doing this in the same context – it could even be using science that hasn’t been invented yet … then this idea would be on the right-hand side.

On the Y-axis, you have the scale relating to actually making those ideas a reality. If your idea could be implemented without much resources (e.g. with not much money, in a short space of time), then you might move that down the bottom of the scale, where it’s “Easy to Implement”. If you had an idea that involved magic, or billions of dollars that you don’t have access to, then that would be on the “Impossible to Implement” scale.

After sorting out your ideas by these two scales, you can ‘stand back’ and look to see what ideas are the “Ciao” ideas (i.e. ideas that are too grounded, and too hard to implement anyway) or the ideas that are “Wow” – these are original, new ideas that are easier to implement – that’s the sweet spot.

How Now Wow Matrix Template

If you prefer another scale for the X-axis, scroll down the bottom of this page to see a varation with different words – ‘Grounded’ to ‘Blue Sky’.

How Now Wow Matrix Template

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