What Should You Include in an Idea Capture Template?

Man looking at his phone screen.
Inspiration strikes anywhere.

Inspiration is fleeting, and we’ve all had a moment where an idea is lost. Idea capture templates can be perfect for getting ideas down on paper and writing them out. So what should be included, and how can you get the most out of them?

What Is An Idea Capture Template?

Also called an idea card or an idea notecard, idea capture templates are small cards designed to notate out and preserve ideas. These can be built online for printing out on demand, something you preprint and hand out at meetings, an internal web app, or even just a simple mental template you can write down quickly and fill out. It’s really more important that your team understand the basic idea and approach and have the tools to direct their creativity, rather than having a rigid form to be filled out.

Why Should I Use Them?

Idea templates are useful not just for catching those elusive thoughts but also for encouraging more creativity from people uncomfortable speaking up and offering a structure for creative team members who need help organizing and documenting their approaches. They’re also good for preserving ideas in brainstorming sessions where teams don’t develop at that moment.

What’s On An Idea Card?

While you should customize according to your organization’s needs, idea cards tend to include the following:

  • The broad category of the idea, such as streamlining a process or offering a new product.
  • The product focus: Business, Consumer, or Internal.
  • A sense of how it benefits the end-user, addressing a pain point, or improving their experience.
  • Space for notes to flesh out the idea.

This is just a start. For example, sales-focused organizations might have a space asking where the idea applies in the customer journey, while non-profits might ask what part of the mission the idea is for.

Group working on a project together.
Ideas can pop up anywhere.

Who Should Get Idea Capture Cards?

The cards should be available to anyone, but ideally, they’re handed out or placed anywhere brainstorming or ideation happens. Consider leaving stacks in meeting rooms, for example, to encourage people to be creative. 

Make them part of the packet when you have innovation summits. And be sure to include a link to an online version in email signatures, on internal web pages, and anywhere else that’s accessible. Innovation platforms can also be a useful place to store these.

What Should I Do With Collected Cards?

Another advantage of these templates is they make applying a sorting and grading system much easier. You’re able to quickly look at the card, put it into the necessary categories, and then go through each of them, determining where and how they should be developed.

They’re also good to keep on file and to pair with other documentation as you develop ideas. For example, if you keep getting the same set of ideas from the same department, even if the ideas themselves don’t go anywhere, it tells you what a pain point within the department is, even if they need another approach.

Part of creativity is securing your ideas. Idea capture tools can help make that happen. To learn more, request a demo.

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