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Idea Capture Cards

A collection of ideas captured on cards during ideation

Remembering a brilliant idea after a 'back of a napkin' moment is hard when the initial inspiration has evaporated. Returning to a notebook in a desperate search for clarity is devastating when all that's left is illegible and inadequate scribbles. That's tough when it's just a one idea. Impossible when dealing with any more than a few ideas.

During recent weeks of ideation, hundreds of ideas were generated by nearly a dozen stakeholders across four different organisations. We needed a lightweight way of capturing and organising ideas as they occurred. Also, for those less comfortable with ideation, a little bit of structure and a few guidelines can really help.

Before the engagement, we created these double-sided cards and printed piles of them at a size a little bit bigger than a standard business card. Each participant got a pack of 50 to take on the road during our sessions. 

Front and Back of Idea Capture Cards

How to use them

It's very straight forward. The front is organised as a series of four vertical panels arranged from left-to-right. The suggestions in each prompt some critical thinking that might be useful when articulating the idea.

  1. What is the category of the idea?
  • Streamline Operations
  • Improve an Existing Proposition
  • Create a new Proposition

Prompts in following columns encourage thought about different dimensions of the idea. By filling out relevant detail, a kind of classification emerges.

Other prompts are:

  1. What kind of customer is it for? Does it give pain relief, or create gain for the customer?
  2. For streamline operations, is it about cost reduction, or process improvement?
  3. What part of the conversion funnel will be impacted? (AARRR Metrics)
  4. What's the main focus: Commercial, Customer or Technology?

On the back of the cards is a blank space to be used however one pleases. It's the back of a napkin! The front of the cards aren't compulsory. Indeed, many will skip it. None the less, it's a useful reference, and it does encourage deeper thinking, which creates more thought out ideas.

Download the template

Take the PDF and print your own cards.
These were created as vectors so that you can resize as you please. You'll need to, because they're enormous in their native size.

These capture cards turned out to be indispensable. We were on the road for weeks meeting innovators, new tech companies, luminaries and influencers in North America, Spain and United Kingdom. These simple cards provided a way for everyone to capture ideas in a consistent way. During analysis and synthesis that followed, we were very grateful!

Jonny SchneiderComment