The Idea Compass

The Idea Compass is a method of notetaking created by Fei-Ling Tseng in her article The essence of the Zettelkasten method, demystified and explained further in the talk The Compass of Zettelkasten Thinking .

The core concept is how to expand and explore an idea by having a formalized "compass" framework for connecting and linking ideas.

You start with a particular idea and ask yourself specific questions corresponding to the four cardinal directions.

## North: Upstream * Where does X come from? * What is its origin? * What belief does X support? * What domain exists an order of Magnitude higher? Zoom out. * What gave birth to X? * What causes X?

## South: Downstream * Where can X lead to? * What does X contribute to? * What group/category could X be the headline of? * What domain exists an order of magnitude lower? Zoom in. * What does X nurture?

## West: Reinforcing * What is similar to X? * What other disciplines could X already exist in? * What other disciplines could benefit from X? * What are other ways to say/do X?

## East: Transformative * What competes with X? * What is the opposite of X? * What is X missing? * What is a disadvantage with X? * What could supercharge X?