Putting myself in the shoes of a J.Crew shopper was more difficult than I imagined. It was certainly more difficult than my peers might have imagined it would be for me, as few people would expect me to dislike shopping as much as I do. Going into clothing stores overwhelms me, so I must step out of myself, and into the mindset of a person who would willingly go into J.Crew, as most J.Crew customers are surely willing, not dragged along as I happen to be found in there store. This mindset-adjustment step was necessary for me to be able to define the problems at J.Crew, and phrase “How Might We,” (HMW) statements.
I think that mindset is a problem for many companies, as the people creating the product and the end-user typically have very different mindsets regarding the product. For example, the person who designed the computer on which I type is surely more interested in and competent with computers than me, just as the person selecting the cut of a J.Crew dress cares a whole lot more about design proportions and style than me, who, despite my current distaste of shopping, did by a few J.Crew pieces several years ago which are still a part of my wardrobe.
I found the HMW statements very useful to define issues surrounding sustainable design at J.Crew. Our team went over the example Professor Luchs provided, then worked individually to come up with HMW statements. This was a great brainstorming tactic, as it brought ideas from each individual that others of us may not have thought of. Some of our ideas were the same, but the wording always differed at the least. When voting to decide on ideas, we always seemed to significantly prefer the wording of one idea over the others even if the meeting was the same, which I found quite interesting.
The HMW ideas we came up with were the highlight of this process for our team. When it came to figuring out which ideas to focus in on, things got a bit hectic. There were so many steps to narrowing the ideas down, I found the process overly long and hard to follow. I think this could have been easily simplified by the process champion. There were some moments of healthy disagreement that led us to consider and verbalize why we thought particular ideas had more merit than others.
The real point of these HMW statements is to focus our need on the needs of the user, in this case, most often emerging, young, professional women, to understand what could be done to make their experience with J.Crew better. I feel confident that the HMW statements we selected have created a solid platform for the upcoming steps of the Living Principle Analysis.