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24 Concept Development Techniques

 , updated on May 19, 2023
Concept development is the creation of a foundational idea for a strategy, design or work product. This is the idea that gives your work its depth, meaning and value. Concepts are a starting point that may change along the path to implementation as a design is shaped by constraints and market realities such as competition and customers. The following are common concept development techniques.
Problem Statement
State what you want to achieve. This can be open-ended and can change throughout the concept development process.
Generating ideas without constraint, validation or criticism.
Backward Invention
Removing features and functions instead of adding them.
Business Experiments
Designing tests to discover information or validate concepts.
Challenging Assumptions
Identifying and challenging your assumptions.
Concept Testing
Get concepts in front of stakeholders such as clients,end-customers or end-users.
Counterfactual Thinking
Think about how the world might have been fundamentally different.
Creativity of Constraints
Add constraints such as a budget or deadline to improve creativity.
Feasibility Study
Determine if a concept is feasible.
First Principles
Apply rules with broad explanatory power that you hold to be true.
Idea Generation
Processes of generating untested brave ideas.
Analogical Thinking
Using analogies to simplify the complex.
Combine different things to develop new concepts.
Idea Screening
Validating and prioritizing ideas.
Reverse Brainstorming
Generating reasons that an idea will fail.
Multiple Perspectives
Temporarily adopt a perspective such as a customer with a particular need, background or motivation.
Multiple Mindsets
Adopt different mindsets such as optimism or pessimism.
Creative Control
Cooperate and collaborate but make it clear who makes the creative decision. Prevents the process of social compromise that creates mediocrity.
Inventive Step
The moment of insight that produces an idea that is non-obvious and valuable.
Lead Users
Engaging the advanced and influential users of your products or services.
Customer Advocacy
Using customer ideas and feedback to improve your design concept.
Throwaway Prototype
Building an inexpensive and fast prototype to test out a concept.
Evolutionary Prototype
Building an expensive version of a concept to advance, refine and sell it.
Design Charrette
An intensive group working session that doesn’t end until you reach a result.
Next read: Types of Design Concept
More about concept development:
Backward Invention
Concept Design
Challenging Assumptions
Design Concept
Concept Testing
Design Research
Counterfactual Thinking
Creativity Of Constraints
Idea Screening
Divergent Thinking
Feasibility Study
First Principles
Idea Generation
Inventive Step
Lead Users
Less Is A Bore
Less Is More
More Is Different
Preserving Ambiguity
Proof Of Concept
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