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Turning ideas into concepts

Learn how to translate ideas into concepts.

What is the difference between ideas and concepts?

Everybody can come up with ideas. Whether they’re big or small, extravagant or modest, ideas can be defined as thoughts or suggestions to a possible cause of action. The key to making ideas useful is to transform them into concepts by prioritising, selecting and executing an idea.

A concept ‘consists of all elements necessary to set an idea into motion’. [1] Developing a concept often requires an investment of time and resources to fully understand and evolve an idea into a concept that can be further developed to bring value to your business and your users. This almost always involves getting sign-off from various stakeholders, including upper management, investors and users, before development can begin.

How do you develop an idea into a concept?

Next, let’s focus on developing your ideas into useful concepts. Before you begin, take a look at some key steps to take when developing a concept: [2]

1. Solve a problem

Your idea may seem great in theory, but in order to develop it into a useful concept, it needs to be solving some kind of real-world problem. If you think about any successful product, it will always start with a problem that needs to be solved.

2. Research the market

Once you have identified a problem, you need to do your research to see what other products currently exist, how your concept is different and whether there are potential customers who will be interested in it.

3. Define your target audience

Next, you need to know your users. Who are you trying to reach with your product? What are their goals, motivations, behaviours and pain points?

4. Validate your idea

It’s important to validate your ideas with real users as early as possible to iterate and improve on a concept. Taking a project from ideation to market without validating whether it is useful or usable can be extremely costly and almost never successful.

In addition to validating your concept with users, you will need to get buy-in from project stakeholders to develop your concept. The concept review is where you pitch your concept to these key stakeholders and decision-makers. This is an opportunity to make sure all stakeholders are on the same page and to weed out any elements that might not work.

5. Take action

The key to developing a successful product is to start. Fear of failure can be a major stumbling block for many trying to get an idea off the ground, which is why it is so important to be flexible and ready to iterate if necessary.

References

1. Gkofa, C. From idea to solid concept and the art of a good concept review [Internet]. Medium; 2021 Jun 23,Available from: https://medium.com/agileinsider/from-idea-to-concept-and-the-art-of-a-good-concept-review-1076427bd194
2. Castrillion, C. How to turn your business idea into reality [Internet]. Forbes; 2021 June 23. Available from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/carolinecastrillon/2019/12/08/how-to-turn-your-business-idea-into-reality/?sh=72ec03c3dca8

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