PRODUCT CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT AS A CONSCIOUS RESOURCE
Development of new products is a necessity due to turbulent markets, fast product cycles, and disruptive technologies. In order to remain competitive, companies have to be innovative and create neW products as well as improve existing ones incrementally. Product concepts are considered to be proposals intended for commercialization within a standard product development cycle. Therefore, they may be seen as the central driver for downstream development. However, product concepts may serve a company in various means, suggesting that their use and value is not limited only for product development. In this paper, we will discuss the current view on concept development and communicate a broader view on concept development within a company context that acknowledges time as a variable. We suggest that product concept definition should not be treated as a phase that occurs at a moment in time for a given purpose, but as an on-going activity that acknowledges the elapse of time i.e. advancement and degree of completion. Also a new categorization model for product concepts is presented in this paper. The categorization model not only attempts to clarify the context, purpose, and nature of product concepts, but it may also serve as a basis for implementing a set of concept development activities within different levels of research and development. In addition, we discuss product concept development in general, for we believe that the benefits incorporated by systematically creating and managing product concepts is not well understood within the industry or the academia.