We provide a short introduction to the theory of M-decompositions in the framework of steady-state diffusion problems. This theory allows us to systematically devise hybridizable discontinuous Galerkin and mixed methods which can be proven to be superconvergent on unstructured meshes made of elements of a variety of shapes. The main feature of this approach is that it reduces such an effort to the definition, for each element K of the mesh, of the spaces for the flux, V (K), and the scalar variable, W(K), which, roughly speaking, can be decomposed into suitably chosen orthogonal subspaces related to the space traces on ∂K of the scalar unknown, M(∂K). We begin by showing how a simple a priori error analysis motivates the notion of an M-decomposition. We then study the main properties of the M-decompositions and show how to actually construct them. Finally, we provide many examples in the two-dimensional setting. We end by briefly commenting on several extensions including to other equations like the wave equation, the equations of linear elasticity, and the equations of incompressible fluid flow.