Why + How = What

Based on a Project Management tool called “goal hierarchy” that allows you to focus on any project without leaving anything important out and without creating a too wide scope that will be difficult to realise, Diana created the WHY + HOW = WHAT formula.

The Secret Formula

This formula will allow you to create structure in the ideas you have going on in your head and break them down into actionable tasks so you can start today your journey of bringing that big idea of yours to life.

Watch the video to find out how WHY + HOW = WHAT can help you.

Start by writing down your idea, passion, desire – this will be your starting point in the brainstorming session. Here is what to do next:


Now that you have one (or a few) items on a piece of paper, ask WHY to each of them to see where it takes you and write the answers down again. Answering this question will:

  • Help you understand the bigger scope of your project
  • Identify what it is actually important to you
  • Point out your vision for yourself and/or the project
  • Help you discover your true motivation*

*Be cautious and critical about your motivation. If you cannot discover other motivations than to make money, you might want to find a different idea. Making money is part of any business, but what drives it and makes it successful is someone’s vision and passion.

Repeat the question to your first round of answers and then do it again with the second and third round. After you are satisfied with the WHYs, try to see how they all connect to each other, if you can group them and if there is something more important than other.

This is how my WHY session looked like after I grouped everything:

First part of the brainstorming session: the WHY


Start by looking at the image above and see how by following the connexions going up answer the question WHY and going down askers the questions HOW. This is a great way to verify that there are no loose ends in your vision and that you are not taking leaps on the way.

Take all the answers from the previous session and see if you can combine them inĀ  a way that if you go upwards they answer to WHY and if you go downwards it answers to HOW and you will:

  • Be able to add and remove answers to make a detailed vision
  • Create structure
  • Narrow down the wide scope to projects, goals and event tasks that will help you achieve your vision
  • Be able to pick something to work on
  • Be able to identify what areas you are strong at and where you will need help

In my case, I decided to focus on the Hackathon because it is a great point to start in the research that I am planning to do in order to achieve my vision of exposing children to entrepreneurship. Here is how the Hackathon project looked like after I asked many HOWs:

Second part of the brainstorming session: the HOW

Please note that this just a sample of HOWs, since the there are many more goals and tasks to be added here before the Hackathon can happen. It is impossible for you to have all the answers to the HOWs right now, so just write down what you know and plan to fill it in as you go further into the project. Identify your strengths and weaknesses and make a plan on how to overcome your shortcomings.


You can start with the WHY or with the HOW depending on how concrete your ideas was at the beginning of the brainstorming session, but you always have to end with the WHAT.

Answering this question will help you:

  • Create a list of tasks that you need to complete
  • Establish a timeline and a ranking among the tasks
  • Identify the resources you need
  • Decide on success criteria that will support your journey
  • Identify sensitive points in your plan so you can consider them with time

The answers to the WHAT is what you will put into your to-do list, set the time line and get you to work. Here is an example:

Third part of the brainstorming session: the WHAT

The complete question is “What do I have to do to…”. Use it on all your answers to WHY and HOW and it will give you a pretty good idea on where to get started to make your idea a reality.

Thank you

If you try my WHY + HOW = WHAT formula, I would love to hear from you with details about how it helped you or how it can be improved.

Follow Diana at We are Entrepreneurs DK on Facebook or YouTube and you will have access to all the content of my video series regarding the Hackathon and also to other content regarding entrepreneurship, motivation, structure and networking, among others.