Concept validation

Closing in on the Solution

The purpose of this phase is to funnel the ideas generated in the Ideation stage, to develop, to combine, and to transform them into Solution Concepts, and to test their feasibility. As within the phase of Problem Prioritisation, it is essential to identify the most valuable ideas. While it is crucial to drop invalid ideas from the solution spectrum, it is also possible to add new ones. The Concept Validation Phase encompasses two stages – the first centers on defining the Concept and the second on testing its Feasibility.

Defining a Solution Concept

The first step is to define a Solution Concept (Concept Statement). It needs to describe the problem, the solution, the stakeholders, the benefits, and why the solution is valuable. It should help the audience to develop an understanding of the purpose of the solution. It should be precise and concrete (trying to limit the numbers of words used) but also stimulate the imagination. The audience needs to be able to visualise the solution and feel how it could solve specific problems. 

Prototypes can support the Solution Concept and are also helpful when it comes to validating the solution’s feasibility. They can take different forms, depending on their design and level of function or interaction. It is possible to distinguish between Low-Fidelity prototypes (e. g., paper or digital frame) and Hi-Fidelity prototypes (clickables or even functional).

Validating the Feasibility

The Solution Concept now requires testing to validate its feasibility. It needs to face the acid test. The Testing involves iterations: trial and error, reviewing, refining, going back and doing it all over again.

The Feasibility Stage’s particular focus should also lie on the user desirability, the business, and the technological viability.

Evaluating the business viability is the first step to outline the business model, designed in the next phase of the Innovation Process. The business viability check involves gathering information about stakeholders, the market, potential competition, etc., to understand the market attractiveness. The analysis should regard both internal and external aspects. PESTLE (Political, Economic, Social, Technical, Legal and Environmental) with focus on the external and SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) dedicated to the internal aspects are two methods that help gain insight into the viability of the business.

The technological viability needs answers to questions concerning infrastructure, availability of technology and resources, regulatory requirements, and potential risks.

The Concept Validation Phase includes a lot of decision making. It is good to remember that decisions should always be primarily be data- and fact-based. Nonetheless, it is also essential to regard expert’s opinion and intuition.

Ideate - Test - Reiterate

Evaluation activities often generate new valuable insights that extend the understanding of the solutions and their potential. These might make a reevaluation of earlier results necessary. Therefore the innovator or the team might move ideas back to previous steps. If the process does not produce a feasible solution, it might even be necessary to reshape the challenge or reevaluate the problem space.

The output of the Concept Validation Phase is an agreed-upon and test approved Solution Concept. The evaluation of the solution’s viability has generated relevant input for the next stage: The Business Model Design