How to Create and Maintain an “Idea Pool” in Trello

I’ve been attempting to do this whole product maker thing for a little while now and even if my products haven’t hit a winner yet there’s one thing I do know how to do and that’s have a large collection of future and possible ideas

I call it the Idea Pool, it’s great because it’s something that once you’ve got setup you can work with in two ways, you can do brainstorming sessions where you actively search for appropriate business ideas and you can also use it for quick capture when you have a spur of the moment business idea that you record.

It takes just three columns

All you need is an empty board with three columns; Possible Ideas, Best Ideas and Useless Ideas. The way this works is that every idea you create goes into the Possible Ideas column, you create a trello card for it and give it some information describing some initial details on what exactly the idea or problem to solve is. You then leave the idea in the possible ideas column.

If you come back later and think to yourself, “I really like the sound of working on idea xyz and it’s a profitable idea” or “I think that there could really be a market for foobar” then you move that idea into the Best Ideas column and record why you made that move in the card.

If on the other hand you now have realised a vital issue with that idea, you can move the idea into the useless ideas column and record on the card why the idea is useless, Do Not Delete It! Do not Delete the useless ideas, there’s a reason that idea is useless and you want to document it, so that you don’t make the mistake of creating a new idea with a similar flaw or so that if you suddenly realised that you were wrong and there is a way to do the useless idea, you still have it.

I’ve got the Pool, I just need the Ideas

Yeah, you’re right, but there are potential ideas everywhere once you learn how to spot them, you just need to reframe the way you’re thinking about it, instead of constantly thinking in your head “What ideas can I come up with?” think to yourself, “What problems can I solve?” once you make that change and practice identifying problems, you’ll have a full idea pool in a couple of months.

Don’t let it become a distraction though, too many ideas can lead to the issue of not committing to any one specific idea (I know, i’ve made this mistake), you need to avoid this by also taking the ordering into account.

Ordering is important

To avoid the pitfall of not committing to a single idea, i’ve added a new rule, I follow the ordering of the trello board — for example, I will work on Idea #1 initially and I will not switch to Idea #2 until I’ve exhausted the possibilities with Idea #1. This will stop you from jumping around and not really focusing on a specific idea, now there may be the instance where I do really want to work on Idea #2 first before I do Idea #1 and to do this it means that when Idea #2 is going from the possible idea column to the best ideas column I can move it above Idea #1 but I can only do that if I haven’t already started working on Idea #1. Follow me? Good.

The next thing i’ll go over in my next post is using this setup to validate these very ideas in the same trello board, because lets be honest, why waste your time building something if you don’t have any idea if it’ll work?

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