This issue is aimed at creating concepts that can beat the benchmark. A concept is not a detailed definition of a new product. Normally it is only a sketch, a document or a simple prototype; a definition that is accurate enough to assess if the product outlined will work as expected and meet the specific goals in question.
The concepts to be brought to light are those that have the potential to attain unrivalled customer value. The aim must be to define concepts so that the solution space expands beyond that which the world has already seen or known.
Due to the strategic importance of this issue we have develop a methodology of how to systematically create new concepts.
Strategies to create concepts
We have found that the best method is to apply a sequence of the following principal tactics:
re-use, a systematic process to identify strong and weak components or subsystems in the benchmark to define what can be reused
re-fine: a systematic process to optimise, trim, increase robustness and reduce costs thereby making a components or subsystems faultless and flawless
re-duce: a systematic process to remove poor subsystems, components or process steps thereby increasing performance and/or reducing cost in a concept
re-inforce: a systematic process to introduce supplementary subsystems, components or process steps in a concept and thereby increasing or creating new performance on main or additional function or reducing unwanted functions
re-form: a systematic process to modify or transform the way the main function is carried out in a concept and thereby taking a quantum leap in the performance of main or additional functions or eliminating unwanted functions
re-place: a systematic process to move the desired functions to a higher hierarchical level and thereby performing the desired functions without the benchmark.
Ideally all these tactics should be applied to the benchmark to provide the greatest solution space for evaluation. This may not always be feasible in practice as project time and resources may be lacking. However, they should all be carried out with a certain degree of regularity and remain an active process within the organisation.
This applies not least to the tactic that results in radical changes being made to the benchmark. The types of changes that lead to new potential S-curves: S-curves that may involve the new product offering so much more customer value that earlier products become completely uninteresting. S-curve shifts don’t occur often but history has repeatedly shown that a shift to a new S-curve often means the disappearance of many established players on the market.
In your project, you should always try to use the different tactics in a sequence starting with re-use and finishing with re-fine.