Methods for Selecting a Concept

05/06/2020 0 By indiafreenotes

Product innovation helps companies to obtain competitive advantage and operate successfully in an increasingly global market. Product development (PD) is a lengthy, expensive process. Thus, companies have a crucial need to assess whether or not they are on the right track from the early stages of product development. That is, to know whether their product is going to be creative and a marketing success.

A proper assessment will allow the right decisions to be made, leading to the development of innovative products. The conceptual design stage is critical when assessing the innovation potential of a product. In this stage, there is a shortage of methods to help companies identify the most innovative product concepts. In this article, a method for assessing the innovation potential of product concepts and selecting those with greater probability of success is described. To that avail, aspects regarding the degree of novelty of product concepts and their potential for success in the market are taken into account. These aspects were integrated into a modified QFD matrix. The proposed method was successfully applied in two companies.

The concept selection matrix and this process is part of DRM Associates’ QFD training and Product Development Toolkit software tools.

The specific steps for concept development and selection are as follows:

  1. Based on the product requirements for technical characteristics, develop concept alternatives for the new product. Consider not only the current approach and technology, but other alternative concept approaches and technology. Use brainstorming. Conduct literature, technology, and patent searches. Use product benchmarking to identify different product concepts. Develop derivative ideas. Perform sufficient definition and development of each concept to evalaute against the decision criteria determined in the next step.
  2. Evaluate the concept alternatives using the Concept Selection Matrix. List product requirements or technical characteristics from the Product Planning Matrix down the left side of the Concept Selection Matrix. Also add other requirements or decision criteria such as key unstated but expected customer needs or requirements, manufacturability requirements, environmental requirements, standards and regulatory requirements, maintainability / serviceability requirements, support requirements, testability requirements, test schedule and resources, technical risk, business risk, supply chain capability, development resources, development budget, and development schedule.
  3. Carry forward the target values for the product requirements or technical characteristics from the Product Planning Matrix. Add target values as appropriate for the other evaluation criteria added in the previous step. Also bring forward the importance ratings and difficulty ratings associated with each product requirement or technical characteristic from the Product Planning Matrix. Normalize the importance rating by dividing the largest value by a factor that will yield “5” and post this value to the “Priority” column. Review these priorities and consider any changes appropriate since these are the weighting factors for the decision criteria. Determine the priorities for the additional evaluation criteria added in the prior step. List concepts across the top of the matrix.
  4. Perform engineering analysis and trade studies. Rate each concept alternative against the criteria using a “1” to “5” scale with “5” being the highest rating for satisfying the criteria.
  5. For each rating, multiply the rating by the “Priority” value in that row. Summarize these values in each column in the bottom row. The preferred concept alternative(s) will be the one(s) with the highest total.
  6. For the preferred concept alternative(s), work to improve the concept by synthesizing a new concept that overcomes its weaknesses. Focus attention on the criteria with the lowest ratings for that concept (“1’s” and “2’s”). What changes can be made to the design or formulation of the preferred concept(s) to improve these low ratings with the product concept? Compare the preferred concept(s) to the other concepts that have higher ratings for that particular requirement. Are there ways to modify the preferred concept to incorporate the advantage of another concept?