Idea Stage Startup Questions

Idea Stage Startup Questions

Congratulations! There is an idea inside of you that wants to be born. What a beautiful thing :)

Before getting too far ahead of ourselves, let's take a moment to zoom in and out on the context this idea lives in.

Imagine that you are applying to humankind / Life on Earth / God for the right to steward this formless thing into form (someday one might actually need to apply to start a corporation). How would you answer the following questions?


What are the different forms/mediums this idea could be expressed through? Perhaps it isn't a technology business, but an education nonprofit, or an essay, or a one time experiment, or nothing at all. How do your life experiences and extrinsic motivations bias you towards the form you currently envision?


What has humankind learned about this idea throughout time? Who are the wisdom keepers in this domain? What do they know? What if this idea is not original, but an energetic current through time that you are connected to, with the invitation to steward it into form now? Who has been impacted by this idea in the past, and how?


How is this idea connected to the existential challenges of our time?

Does it connect to any of the UN SDG's? How will you feel about your grandchildren knowing that in 2022, you decided to pour your energy into this idea?


How does the problem this idea solves live inside of you?

What are the root causes of the problem? What is your relationship with the problem? How have you gone about changing that relationship to it? What have you learned?


What learnings from past projects do you want to keep in mind as you begin this new one?

Are there patterns of behavior you would like to avoid?


What are you not seeing?

Imagine your product at the scale of 1 billion people. What are all the things that could go wrong? Nth order consequences. Bad actors (multi polar trap). Imbalanced usage.

Should your idea exist? What arguments would a strong opponent of your solution bring forward? Is there anything in your solution that makes you uncomfortable? What? Why? Could your solution be a part of an episode in Black Mirror (dystopian science fiction series)? Try to imagine the plot.

What are you really following?


Are you prepared to steward this idea?

In what ways are you prepared? In what was are you not prepared? Who would you need to be to bring this into the world in a good way? What needs cleaning up in your life? What’s in your learning journey?


How do you want to contribute to bringing this idea into form?

Which aspects of the process are most nourishing and interesting to you? Is there another team already working on this that you could collaborate with? What kind of lifestyle do you want to maintain or shift into while working on this?


Is this yours to do?

Where does this idea fall in your Ikigai? How does it relate to your positioning in the web of life? Is now the right time?

Happy stewarding! If you haven't already, consider "writing your heart out" about the vision you have. Or dance it out.

Reach out if you'd like support on bringing your baby to life. I LOVE working with founders at the earliest stages. Brainstorming is my thing. Now featuring ethical guardrails 😹

See The Ethical Startup Playbook for additional questions, resources and commentary.