Concept Ideation Sketches

Since you’re on the path of product development, you’ve probably already come up with an idea for your product. It might have come to you in the middle of the night or while you worked endlessly on it in your garage. I would encourage you to put aside your first solution for now. It is often the case that your first idea is not your best idea, and by thinking more broadly, you may find a more innovative, more patentable, and more successful solution. Use your data from your user and product research to ideate on many possible solutions, or even just specific features. Think of this effort as casting a wide net on ideas, so that you can narrow it down to the most practical and realistic ones.

Generating Ideas

The ideation process should start by defining your key design inputs from your user and product research. For example, did you find that users value the product being lightweight, high quality, and very ergonomic? Then start by sketching out ideas on how to achieve each of those things individually. A good method you could use is to posting sticky notes on the wall with each idea.

Brainstorming with Sticky Notes for Concept Ideation

Forming Product Concepts

Once you’ve done this, you can start to combine and refine the most promising ideas into product concepts. It’s okay if you don’t have a technical background, focus on defining what features the product should have in order to meet your customer’s needs.

Your goal should be to come up with 5-10 different product concepts. These concepts should be unique and broadly distinct from one another. Don't worry if you're not the most talented artist in the world, just make sure to communicate the important features as clearly as you can. Call outs and annotations are always helpful.

Intellectual Property Benefits

Once you’ve done this, you can start to combine and refine the most promising ideas into product concepts. It’s okay if you don’t have a technical background, focus on defining what features the product should have in order to meet your customer’s needs.

Your goal should be to come up with 5-10 different product concepts. These concepts should be unique and broadly distinct from one another. Don't worry if you're not the most talented artist in the world, just make sure to communicate the important features as clearly as you can. Call outs and annotations are always helpful.

Choosing a Concept

It's hard to narrow down and define your product concept when each one has it's own potential value. It can be helpful to create a comparison chart, in which you can view the concepts side by side and rate how well they meet the overall goals of the product. You can also review this chart with your user feedback group to see which concepts resonate best with them.

To choose the best path forward, first make sure that the product will meets the minimum user requirements. Then project and balance the time it will take to get it to market, the costs of development, the manufacturing costs, and the potential profit from the concepts. You may decide that you can afford to develop a more complex product that users will love instead of creating the cheap and easy product that users might be satisfied with.

Moving Forward

If you need help with your concept ideation, we have trained Industrial Designers on staff at Touchstone 3D to help. Reach out to us and we can set up a consult to talk about how to get started.

Once you've decided on a product concept to move forward with, we need to start to visualize it in 3D space so that we can share it with other people for their feedback. In our next article, we’ll talk about doing concept refinement and CAD modeling (3D digital modeling) and what that model can be used for.