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Define the envisaged solution

Distill the essence of the idea

Looking into the future can be a bit wild and chaotic – and that’s fine. At this stage, quantity promotes quality. Much of what has been developed and thought about, reversed and mirrored, now has to be recapitulated and condensed into its essence to create a solution that can be tested.

Ensure creative output is communicated in a serious way

Challenging, creative thinking needs moments of lightness. There is evidence to show that people work better and more efficiently when they are in a good mood and feel optimistic. In order to ensure this valuable work is not dismissed as “insanity” or a “leisure activity”, it has to be translated.

Critical simplification of information is a capability that goes beyond the value of the information itself. By creating an Ideas Napkin, we can clarify the essence of our solution. This promotes persuasive communication without anticipating the final format. In addition, a poster or a regular presentation can be created in which the interim results from this stage are presented in a comprehensible and appealing way to colleagues and key actors.

Ideas Napkin

Ideas Napkin

What is it and what purpose does it serve?

The Ideas Napkin helps compile the outcomes of an intense work phase. It contains only the central elements of an idea. In clear and succinct form, it describes the challenge, its solution, and how it benefits one or more groups of actors.

Added value

The brief description states what the team has agreed on as being the central elements of the idea. This brings the innovative quality of the idea to life and makes it easier to communicate. A digital napkin is useful for many ideas and can also form part of a larger database of ideas.

The D’Artagnan model by S. Fischer describes ideas systematically. Ideas always have a starting point: An unsolved problem has been encountered or an unmet challenge has been identified. The solution is what is newly introduced, often understood as an idea. The value describes the particular importance of the solution to those impacted by the idea.

Ideas Napkin

Work sheet

30 – 45 minutes


  1. Transfer template into a large format. Start on the left-hand side.

  2. Describe the starting point: Ideas always have a starting point. What is the problem or challenge that needs a solution? Summarize in your own words how the venture was initiated.

  3. Describe the value: What makes the solution valuable to key actors, our organization, and future generations? What importance do they attach to it?

  4. Wert beschreiben: Was macht die Lösung wertvoll für die Schlüsselakteure, unsere Organisation und zukünftige Generationen? Welche Bedeutung messen sie ihr bei?

  5. Elaborate the core of the idea:

  • Describe its mechanism: What logic is the idea based on? What is the useful principle behind it? Draw on insights from the Potential Construction Kit for inspiration.

  • In what formats could the idea’s mechanism be usefully implemented? Write down or outline at least three different options without committing to any one of them.

  • What working title and hashtag describe the core of the idea?

  1. Keep the Ideas Napkin carefully and document it so that you can continue working with it in the next phase.