#1 Three Key Questions to Ask When Ideating

March 11, 2024

How to come up with Ideas

Three key questions I ask when ideating:

What's the problem being solved?
  • Clarify the problem: Begin by understanding the issue at hand. This involves identifying the users' needs or the inefficiencies that currently exist. Consider using techniques like the "Five Whys" to drill down to the root cause of the problem. This step ensures that you're addressing symptoms and the underlying issue.
  • Defining the User: Identify the user having the problem and understand their demographics, behaviors, and preferences. This might involve talking to the user. The goal is to empathize with the users and tailor solutions that meet their needs.
  • Understanding the Context: Consider the broader context in which the problem exists. This includes market trends, technological advancements, and regulatory environments. Contextual factors can significantly impact both the problem and the feasibility of potential solutions.
How are people solving it today?
  • Talk to Users: Reach out to your target users to uncover their needs and frustrations. This direct feedback is vital for tailoring your solution to real-world users.
  • Identify Solutions: Search online to gather a broad range of insights on how users tackle the problem. Read reviews and how-to articles to identify potential products and who makes them. Analyzing this data helps pinpoint market gaps and user preferences.
  • Do a quick Survey: Post on X, Instagram, and Facebook to see how others are solving the problem. Conduct a poll or ask an open-ended question. This creates an opportunity to discuss the issue, look for themes, and identify any unmet needs.
What gaps exist between the problem people have and the solutions that exist?
  • Identifying Unmet Needs: Focus on pinpointing the needs that current solutions do not address.
  • Analyzing the Competitive Landscape: Assess not just who your competitors are but how they are failing or succeeding in meeting user needs. This can highlight opportunities for differentiation.
  • Innovating on User Experience: Consider how the user experience can be improved. Often, the differentiation doesn't come from the product or service itself but from how it's delivered or experienced by the user.

Success Story

Canva by Melanie PerkinsFrom a university student to Canva co-founder Melanie Perkins, she turned her frustration with complex design tools into a mission to simplify design for everyone. Launching from an Australian living room, Perkins's vision for an accessible design platform has empowered millions globally. Her commitment to user feedback and a customer-first approach has fueled Canva's remarkable growth, making it a shining example of innovation and resilience. Today, Canva democratizes design and inspires female entrepreneurs worldwide, proving that passion and user-centric innovation can redefine industries.


As a product leader and entrepreneur with limited time, I appreciate structure, and I find it valuable to organize my thoughts in an accessible system.

Years ago, I came across Tiago Forte's PARA framework, which kept me organized and focused. The framework states that in our lives, we have short-term Projects that we are working on, longer-term Areas or responsibilities in our lives, and Resources—things that we are interested in. Once we're done, we Archive the items from the above three categories.

This paradigm has helped me stay organized and be more efficient with my time. I will say it is a black hole as you look at productivity hacks and tools and find something that works for you.

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