The need for concept development [Archives:2002/36/Business & Economy]

September 2 2002

The Road Ahead
[email protected]
A concept is the abstract ideas behind any action you take. In business terms a concept is an opportunity to do business. The sufficiency of these concepts determines the viability of turning them into reality. For example Traveling from point A to B is a concept, but renting a car is an idea.
In today’s dynamic business environment, the increasing stress on companies forces them to focus on more profits and growth without giving enough attention to the development of the core concept of the business itself. There should be equal focus on concept development as of that on profit making.
And so, any disfavoring changes in the business environment would affect those businesses that did not give enough attention to concept development negatively. For example after the Second World War, Germany was one of the fast developing countries and built a good reputation for quality, and that was the base line of their manufacturing concept, and they did give it enough attention.
Designing a strategy means selecting a concept, developing it and emerging it with supportive concepts to increase its value; then the corporate strategy is formulated and executed. Concept development helps in formulating a stronger and more flexible corporate strategy in case of any disfavoring future changes in the business environment.
The Japanese, for example, provide innovation in addition to quality. Their goal is to produce the world’s best-value-for-money vehicles. The concept here is: “Producing innovative vehicles with good quality and durability for a reasonable price”.
There are five main steps in concept development:
1.Screening traditional and historical, dying & emerging, competitors and non-competitors concepts, review and classify them into promising, marginal and fruitless concepts.
2.Generating concepts. this means reflecting on classified concepts to generate a new one in the areas of need.
3.Developing concepts to the best benefit of inventor and the best use in or with the strategy.
4.Synergizing concepts to get more value out of them.
5.Testing these competing concepts with an appropriate group of testers, in order to show which concept delivers the best benefits.
Good ideas may come from talented managers, technical research and development departments or external consultants, but the difference is that a new idea needs a marketable use, whereas a concept needs technical development. This means that the new idea can be a concept whereas a concept is an existing idea that is being developed. This is why developed concepts are more successful.
Endnote: Concept development continuously proves its importance to build a solid yet flexible corporate strategy, it has to be taken seriously.