The Importance of Concept Generation
By: Ehsan Abedi
Product Designer, Product Design
28th November 2018
In a modern world, people are often overloaded with information and new products. Effective concept generation allows for the exploration of new ideas that are both novel, commercially successful and of value to the user.
Concept generation is a vital part of the engineering design process. This comes early on in the product design or design engineering process and is essentially a procedure that begins with a range of technical requirements and user considerations. It ends with a multitude of product concept designs.
There were several interactions I had throughout the recent Engineering Design Show which highlighted the importance of concept generation within the modern design process. In a conversation with a manufacturing company based in Hong Kong, they expressed their frustration with receiving part designs which were often incompatible with each other or whole products that are almost impossible to manufacture without significant modification. With better implementation of concept generation and selection, these issues would be less likely to be encountered at such a late stage in the design engineering process, saving companies time and money.
This was further highlighted in Steve May-Russell’s talk on design thinking where he demonstrated that for every 50 concepts there are 10 that successfully meet the whole design brief. Of that 10 it is likely that only 2 would go on to be the successful product.
These interactions clearly indicate the job of a designer is not only to rapidly generate a range of feasible product design concepts but also have the ability to effectively select and develop the best concepts further.
The next time you find yourself tackling a problem ask yourself, “how many alternative ways can I think of solving this issue?” and then think which idea is most effective. It is unlikely to be the first one that popped into your head…