How Now Wow Matrix

What is a How Now Wow matrix?

A How Now Wow matrix is an idea selection tool, made popular by Gamestorming. It helps groups to brainstorm, plan ideas, and organize their thoughts collaboratively. The matrix categorizes ideas based on their originality and the ease of implementation.

  • How – represents ideas that are innovative, but difficult to implement so they are not yet feasible, but might be worth considering as future goals.
  • Now – represents unoriginal ideas which are familiar, easy to implement, and proven to work well.
  • Wow – represents new ideas that are easy to implement and executable ideas that can be actualized. Aim to form as many ideas in this category as you can.

Why use a How Now Wow matrix?

The How Now Wow matrix is extremely straightforward and easy to use for uncovering the best ideas and when to implement them. The technique encourages the team to let their thoughts flow, and the group dynamic builds on that creativity to encourages groundbreaking innovation.

Who can use a How Now Wow matrix?

Any organization or team wanting to stimulate new ideas can use this versatile tool. You can use it to solve problems, develop new services and products, or improve the way things are done.

Facilitation tips
  • Carefully select participants to provide expert knowledge but also a fresh perspective.
  • Use technology to involve critical people in different locations rather than miss their contribution.
  • Be specific rather than broad when defining ideas.
  • Provide adequate time in the session to position and rate ideas.

How Now Wow template

The dimensions used for a How Now Wow matrix template are:

  • Originality – The horizontal axis rates ideas as normal or innovative
  • Ease of Implementation – The vertical axis rates ideas as easy or difficult to implement.


This part of the template stays empty as no organization has much use for unoriginal ideas that are challenging to achieve.

However, you can use this space to park ideas that after consideration you feel are impossible to implement. It serves as a record they were considered.


These are breakthrough ideas that are impossible to implement within current organizational constraints – eg. budget, skill level, technology.

Action: Explore possibilities, but place them on hold until implementation is more feasible.


Low risk and highly acceptable ideas. They are sometimes referred to as low-hanging fruit.

Action: Implement to fill gaps in existing organizational processes for incremental benefits.


Innovative breakthrough ideas that can be implemented relatively easily. They have enormous potential for big benefits.

Action: Develop a plan to implement these ideas.

How to create a How Now Wow matrix

The time to run a How Now Wow session depends on the size of the group, and the objectives of the meeting. However, there is no reason why you can’t brainstorm and prioritize activities, in under 40 minutes.


The How Wow Now framework works best in a group where people feel able to express their opinions freely, and creativity is a result of the group dynamic. Usually, each step would be done as a single group or several smaller groups using a whiteboard, post it notes, or an online collaboration tool such as GroupMap. However, if you want to avoid groupthink or peer pressure, you can brainstorm ideas individually in the first instance and then combine them to get the complete picture.


Define the scope and the objectives of the of the How Now Wow session.


Gather ideas from the group.


Collate and consolidate ideas.


Assess the originality and ease of implementation and position on the matrix.


Vote on the areas you feel are most important.


Share the outcomes with relevant stakeholders.

Start the by defining the scope and the objective of the How Now Wow matrix session. For example, are you trying to solve a problem, improve the way things are done, or develop a new product or service?

Start the brainstorming step by asking the team to discuss normal ideas that are easy to implement. List them out in the ‘Now’ box.

Next get creative and brainstorm ideas you dream about implementing in the future. List them in the ‘How’ box.

Finally, brainstorm innovative, breakthrough ideas that you can implement with current resources and add them to the ‘Wow’ box.

If you explore an idea and perceive it as impossible to implement, you can add it to the blank box as a reminder of past ideas that you considered.

Combine the ideas to get an overview. Merge similar ideas and remove duplicates or activities not in scope. Discuss each idea and ensure the whole team has a mutual understanding of what it entails.

Define the two axes on the How Now Wow matrix. What does ‘Ease of implementation’ mean. Is the scale based on costs, human resources, some other factor, or a qualitative gut feel of a combination of overheads?

Do the same with originality. Is an innovative idea one that has never been thought of before, or just something your organization hasn’t tried yet?

Position ideas based on the ease of implementation and innovation factor. Discuss any significant discrepancies among the group. Ask participants to explain their reasoning and work towards an agreement.

Ask participants to vote on the ideas that they feel are best suited and most important for implementation in the immediate future. Give each participant one or more votes to allocate across the ideas.

The resulting matrix shows whether the team agrees on the priorities so you can talk through and manage any issues before moving forward.


Using an online collaboration tool like GroupMap to collate ideas, and tally votes significantly reduces the time and effort required especially if the brainstorming and positioning were done as individuals, in small groups, or at different times or locations.

The final weighted How Now Wow matrix shows the key things the team needs to focus on going forward. Distribute a report on the outcomes to relevant stakeholders. Use the document to monitor successful implementation.


GroupMap automatically generates visually appealing reports and action plans in several formats for distribution, saving time and effort after the analysis.

Cross Device Compatibility

Save effort, time and money with GroupMap

Whether you have your best minds together in the same room, or distributed around the world, GroupMap’s unique technology allows groups of up to 2000 to submit ideas independently at separate times, from different places, in different timezones. Prevent dominant personalities swaying the group, drowning out the opinions of others – GroupMap allows everyone to brainstorm independently then effortlessly combines that information to reveal the full spectrum of ideas. GroupMap templates keep the objective front and center throughout the session, keeping everyone on task. This ensures the activity identifies actionable issues rather than becoming just a discussion on ideas. GroupMap gives you all the group decision making tools you need to prioritize, decide and take action.

Create your first map and invite people in to start sharing their thoughts right NOW. Experience the power of GroupMap with our 14-day, no risk, FREE trial. You don’t even need to provide your credit card details to access to all of our features, including the entire suite of templates, for a full 14 days.