Designing has always been an integral part of any business development as it provides the visual attraction that grabs customers attention to the business. Modern trends on the designs have been changed drastically and conceptual designs have been introduced to business designing from basic graphic design to architectural wonders.
Conceptual design is the part of the design process where, by identifying the essential problems through abstraction, establishing function structures, searching for appropriate working principles and combining these into a working structure.
Conceptual designs are not necessarily an art of any media related design, it has also been used for new product design, logo creation and other innovative business items.
The conceptual design phase is a critical phase in any new product development. During this stage, designers and other members of the development team brainstorms product ideas based on research into customer needs.
Once a detailed review has been formed, the most promising concepts go forward to detailed design and development. The journey to the end result of conceptual design can be made into 5 stages:
- Business plan
- Product/Service launch
Once the team develops the shortlist, management or the business owner needs to tentatively sign off on the concept. Approved concepts proceed to the research element of the process.
This includes basic market research, often with a mockup of a new product, to understand potential customer interest across various market segments, as well as acceptable price points.
If sufficient interest exists in a large-enough market segment to make the new product or service profitable, the concept moves forward.
While a business plan typically is associated with starting new businesses, companies often develop complete business plans for individual products or services. Doing so allows the business to compile all the relevant information, from marketing information to financial data, as well as organizational elements relevant to the resource allocation and management.
A business plan for a product also allows the business to provide guidance about how the new product strategy fits with the larger business strategy.
Development calls for proof of concept. This means the actual production of a working model of the new product or a small-scale version of the new service.
Assuming the working model or small-scale version of the service live up to the concept, the business can develop tentative plans detailing procedures for full-scale production, as well as marketing and operations plans.
Validation encompasses a broad spectrum of issues. Full-scale production testing must occur to ensure the procedures work as planned and within acceptable variances from estimated costs. The business needs to test customer response to the final version of the product or service.
Any major changes to procedures, materials and processes take place in this stage. The business must also fine tune marketing and operations plans to reflect adjustments to the product or service.
The launch stage entails bringing the product or service fully onto the market. Large-scale manufacturing or a full version of the service goes live. The marketing efforts probably transition from straight interest building to either a hybrid interest building/selling or straight selling. In essence, the product or service becomes a public, commercial endeavor, rather than just an in-house project.
During this stage the designers and the developing team must have clear communication and steady workflow in order to create a healthy concept. In any business designing, creation of the concept is a crucial part and there are some factors that have to be kept in the mind before the development of the concept.
At the conceptual design phase, the development team must decide whether the product concept meets real customer needs. They review the performance of their own existing products, in addition to competitive offerings, to see if the concept provides a better solution to a real problem.
Developing products that do not meet customer needs can prove an expensive mistake. Designers who recognize that a concept does not have a viable commercial future must therefore make the decision not to proceed, according to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
The development team must also consider the practical feasibility of developing different concepts. They compare the estimated costs of developing, manufacturing and marketing the product with its potential value to customers and the price point it could achieve. Technical feasibility is another key consideration.
The team considers whether the company can develop and manufacture the product with current skills and resources. They also look at the feasibility of completing the development project within a time frame that gives the company a market advantage.
The level of technical stretch is an important factor at the conceptual design stage, according to Synthesis Engineering Services. Designers must consider if they have to invent anything new to make the concept work or if available technology can meet all the concept’s performance objectives. Developing new technologies could delay the entire project, so designers must also consider whether alternative technologies can deliver the same results.
A survey by design software firm PTC found that a high proportion of development costs are committed at the conceptual design phase. According to the survey conducted in July 2011, 61 percent of respondents reported that 61 percent of a product’s total development costs are fully committed at the concept stage.
A further 43 percent claimed that 71 percent of the total product cost is fixed by the time they complete the conceptual design phase. The implication is that poor decisions at the conceptual design phase mean companies could waste money that is committed before detailed development starts.
Concept design development essentially enables you to make sure your products are innovative, marketable, and importantly, how much they cost to manufacture. It also means you can assess whether you can actually manufacture them. In other words, it helps you and the business to decide whether or not you should invest the time, money and effort to fully develop the product in question