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In part four of the five part series on innovation, Matt Fox (CEO of Sparta Engineering) discusses how a team should approach the concept phase.
Before continuing, jump to the video (YouTube) or scroll down to watch this interview. Did you see part 1: cultivating innovation, part 2: defining the team, and part 3: Parameters Influencing Innovation?
The following is a transcript of the interview with Matt Fox shown below.
How Do You Manage The Momentum?
Through this process of innovation, what becomes very important is managing the energy and managing the momentum in the project. In the beginning, everyone has a high level of energy they want to invest in a project. As you progress through a project, that energy wanes. This is one of the biggest hurdles is the concept phase. A team needs to commit to a concept, have faith in their parameters, (that their parameters were set properly), and those parameters will carry forward a concept.
When Do you Move On From You Concept Phase?
The perception that you are going to achieve a perfect concept is human nature. It is something we all strive for. If we have the perfect concept, we will have the perfect set of drawings and the perfect manuals, etc. What we really need is to have faith in parameters and save that energy and save that momentum for when it really counts. We will need the energy for finishing the project and finishing the product.
Why Is It Important to Believe in the Concept?
Concepts are the foundation of the process. We talked about the innovation team not being a foundation. Those are the people who set the dimensions to the foundation and the parameters being those dimensions. The concept is the foundation to this process, the concept is not the final product. We have to realize the product is going to change substantially from the concept phase. As we move into the final phase and work in parallel, we are going to come across hurdles. Our parameters are going to change and they are going to change our concept.
Doesn’t the Quality of Concept Determine the Quality of Product?
The quality of the concept does not determine the quality of the final product. To be clear, I am not talking about a design process. Concepts cannot be a box that is checked off on a list of things to do. This is a process that develops a team and develops their ability to communicate with each other. This process develops a certain level of trust between the team members so that they can overcome the hurdles that are going to occur after the concept phase. A well developed team will have more power and more faith in a concept they have developed and faith that they are moving forward in the process. They will come up with a final product that is going to meet the parameters that were set in the early stages.