Inspire creative conceptual design through co-creation
By Dave Lundahl and Brittany Kovacevic
How do you take an idea and turn it into a conceptual design of a product before you start building it?
Success in product development depends on getting your conceptual design right. Missing the mark leads to wasted time and resources in downstream development, and risk of failure in commercialization. For this reason, concepting is an important sprint within the CRAEVS solution. The concepting sprint applies consumer and behavioral techniques that tap into the minds of consumers as co-creation participants to help inspire, guide and focus culinary product developers who possess deep knowledge into how to conceptually design foods to focus benchtop prototyping.
This is a 3-4-week sprint that involves three steps.
The first step takes inputs from the prior Finding Your Focus sprint, such as what is the target category, the competitive set, the moments of use, and associated ingredients, claims, perceived benefits, and brand perceptions that a new or renovated product must compete in to disrupt. This information is used to establish a baseline upon which consumers as participants are placed through a series of activities called PlayFULL Insights® to creatively imagine the future of new products. This technique uses play with Legos® for participants to build models with the building blocks representing metaphors for imagined hypothetical ideal products. What does that category look like? What does that product do? How does it get packaged? What is the consumption moment? Using Legos, the users can show us their version of the future product category and the models become a tool for deeper discussion and learnings to apply to the design concepts.
The second step is to design concepts with Culinologists and consumers. The technical information from the category, ingredient, technology, and product evaluation is combined with the inputs from the first PlayFULL Insights® step. Research is transformed into paper concepts by culinary product developers who are trained to create foods with the specific signals of importance. This step is highly customizable per project. It can be a very iterative process of sharing concept development with consumers for feedback to continuously build on concepts (as many repeats to this process as designed). Alternatively, consumers can be presented with a last round of concepts for reactions. This will answer very valuable questions needed to set a product up for disruptive success. How do we win? What is the point of difference with the competition? Are we within the white space opportunity? The paper concepts ultimately developed will walk through the platform title, representative SKU iterations, benefits and differentiators, potential packaging and feasibility considerations, and inspirational graphics.
In the third step, consumers judge the paper concepts against each other and against category competitors through quantitative techniques. The winning concepts move forward into a subsequent prototyping sprint within the CRAEVS solution. This will tell you which concepts have the greatest behavioral impact and disruptive potential against the competitive baseline. It is important that these selected concepts have their design direction documented within the Product Profile Sheets to serve as the guiding principles of the product before moving into benchtop development.
With the final Product Profile Sheets in hand, culinary product developers are ready to head to the benchtop and begin translating the elements of concepts with the greatest potential to disrupt. You are now armed with the behavioral insights and product knowledge to have confidence in the concepts moving towards development, commercialization, and scale.