Chapter II Concept Generation and Concept Selection

By Abebaw Mekonnen

1.Understand Concept generation techniques. 2.Understand and apply the concepts of ideonomics, a brainstorming and pugh concept. 3.Understand and practice different types of design flow charts and function means: tree. Practice 1.Prepare function means tree for the given new product. 2. Apply Concept Generation and selection Techniques


product concept is an approximate description

of the technology, working principles, and form of the product. It is a concise description of how the product will satisfy the customer needs. -A concept is usually expressed as sketches or as rough three-dimensional model and is often accompanied by a brief textual description. -A concept generation process begins with a set of customer needs and target specifications and results in a set of product concepts from which the team will make a final selection

Search externally -Lead users -Experts -Patents -Literatures -Benchmarking 3. Reflect on the solution .Concept generation Steps 1.Clarify the problem -Understanding -Problem decomposition -Focus on critical sub problems Sub problems 2.Explore Existing concepts systematically -Function Integrated means tree solution 5. Search internally -Individual -Group New concepts 4.

it is the pure and applied science of ideas and their laws. or other idea.What Is Ideonomy? Ideonomy is the science of ideas. investigate. and of the use of same to describe.Ideonomics -Turning idea to economics Brainstorming     Traditional brainstorming is not just about generating ideas. thing.  . generating ideas and then evaluating those ideas to . problem. generate. or otherwise treat all possible ideas related to any subject. It is about tapping into the cumulative creativity of a group of people.

The most effective brainstorming teams will include people from a variety of departments and backgrounds. If you want ateam variety of ideas. Different people think differently from An ideal brainstorming should each other.. brainstormers . comprise one moderator and 8 to 12 go for a variety of people. Similar people think similarly to each other.

Make sure it does not happen! . . . Introduction to the issue and .The issue is what you will brainstorm session.Squelching – criticizing ideas or barnstormers – is the worst thing that can happen to a brainstorming session. 2. 3. Evaluation of the ideas. about. Idea generation.Ideation is the process of generating creative ideas.The brainstorming session itself comprises four portions: 1.Choosing the right evaluation criteria is essential for a successful brainstorming . a goal or a Problem. It should describe a need.

with zero indicating ideas does not meet criterion and five indicating a perfect match. Wrap up At the end of the evaluation.Ideas are judged against criteria using a scale of zero to five. . the moderator should discuss the top ideas with the barnstormers and note any additional feedback regarding the issue. the ideas and the overall brainstorming session. Any relevant comments should be noted.Example: • strong profit potential • low cost to develop and produce product • good fit with existing product line • speed of bringing to market . 4.

. It should include: 1) The issue.Final report . 6) Names of the barnstormers. clients or others. 3) The top ranking ideas and their scores indicated as a fraction of the total possible score or as a percentage.Brainstorm session reports are excellent tools for selling ideas to senior management. 4) Any relevant comments raised by the barnstormers at the conclusion of the session.A final report of the brainstorming session should be written. 5) Follow up plans. Not only do they provide ideas. 2) The evaluation criteria. but they provide excellent arguments for implementing the ideas – thanks to the evaluations. .

“Total Design is the systematic activity necessary. The inventor of the Total Design methodology. process. from the identification of the market/user need. to the selling of the successful product to satisfy that need – an activity that encompasses product.PUGH CONCEPT Stuart Pugh. created a structured process for product design and development.” – Stuart Pugh . people and organization.

or should start. the design core. all of which are imperative for any design. conceptual design. Briefly. irrespective of domain. this core. consists of market (user need). detail design. with a need that. when satisfied. product design specification. will fit into an existing market or create a market of its own . manufacture and sales. All design starts.“Total design may be construed as having a central core of activities.

Once this is established.” . The PDS thus acts as the control for the total design activity.Product Design Specification (PDS) “From the statement of the need – often called the brief – a  product design specification (PDS) must be formulated – the specification of the product to be designed. it acts as the mantle or cloak that envelopes all the subsequent stages in the design core. because it places the boundaries on the subsequent designs.


the team will identify the mission statement or expecting outcome of the product. • The nailer will be hand-held. • The nailer has no noticeable nailing delay after tripping tool. . and functional analysis. Based on the above assumptions. • The nailer is light weight.Clarify the problem (Need analysis) It consists of developing a general understanding and then breaking the problem down into sub problems Illustrative example Need. • The nailer will be compatible with nail magazines on existing tools.‘Design a better hand-held roofing nailer’ Some of the assumptions in the team’s mission statement are: • The nailer will use nails.Step1. system. These include: • The nailer inserts nails in rapid succession. obtained from need.

• Nailing force up to 2000N. • Maximum nailing energy of 40 joules per nail. to clarify and quantify the needs. which has to be done on the previous analysis and technical analysis.25 second. • Peaking nailing rate of one nail per second. • Tool mass less than 4kg • Maximum trigger delay of 0.The team gathered supplemental information. These include: • Nail length from 25mm to 38mm. such as the approximate energy and speed of nailing to clearly identify the target product specifications. . • Average nailing rate of 12 nails per minute.

Input Energy Material (Nails) Output Hand-held Nailer Energy Material nails) (driven Energy Store or accept external energy Convert energy to translational energy Apply translational energy to nail Driven Nails Nails Store nails Isolate nails . The functional decomposition is the most practice. It is a process of dividing a problem into a simpler sub problems.Decomposing a complex problem into simpler sub problems.

or “repaired” by other members of the team. i. Generate a lot of ideas. . cardboard and other 3D medias. ii. the more likely the team is to explore fully the solution space. This process can be carried by individuals working in isolation or by group of people working together. During group concept generation sessions no criticism of concepts is allowed. The more ideas the team generates. Ideas which initially appear infeasible can often be improved. Suspend Judgment. Use graphical and physical media. Physical medias can be made from clay. The more infeasible an idea. iv. iii. Welcome ideas that may seem infeasible.Internal Search of Concepts Internal search is the use of personal and team knowledge and creativity to generate solution concepts. The followings are guidelines useful for improving internal search. the use of graphical and physical media is unquestionable. It is an action of suspending evaluation for days and weeks required to generate set of alternatives for better success. the more it stretches the boundaries of the solution space and encourages the team to think of limits of possibilities. A large number of ideas has the potential to stimulate even more ideas. foam. “debugged”. Since text and verbal language are inherently inefficient vehicles for describing physical entities.

Eg. These questions cause reflection on the boundaries of the problem. Use Related and Unrelated Stimuli: Most individuals can think of a new idea when presented with new stimulus. iii. Considering our new development of nailer.Hints for Generating Solution Concepts i. Related stimuli are those stimuli generated in the context of the problem at hand. Near the end of a session individuals and groups may find quantitative goals useful as a motivation force. Wish and Wonder: Beginning a thought or comment with “I wish we could…” or “I wonder what would happen if…” helps to stimulate oneself or the group to consider new possibilities. iv. realized that construction of pile drivers are similar to nailers in some respects. . Set Quantitative Goals: Generating new idea can be exhausting. ii. Make Analogies: It is experiencing of searching of other devices which can solve a related problem and searching (thinking) other devices do something similar in an unrelated area of application.

Sketches. vi. . TRIZ (a Russian acronym for theory of inverse problem solving). Use Gallery Method: The gallery method is a way to display a large number of concepts simultaneously for discussion. The key idea is to identify a construction that is implicit in a problem. are taped or pinned to the wall and the team members circulate and look at each concept.v. the contradiction problem might be that increasing power (a desirable characteristics) would also tend to increase weight (an Undesirable characteristics). The creator of the concept may offer explanation and the group subsequently make suggestions for improving the concept or spontaneously generates related concepts. is primarily useful in identifying physical working principles to solve technical problems. This methodology. Using this technique the team might have arrived at concept of using repeated smaller impact to drive the nail. The idea of identifying a conflict in the design problem and then thinking about ways to resolve the conflict appears to be a very useful problem heuristic. usually one concept to a sheet. Eg. TRIZ It is a Russian problem solving methodology. In a construction of a nailer.

Pneumatic 10.Nuclear reaction 15.Flywheel with charging 11. Carbon dioxide in tank 7. Gun powder 4. Electric wall outlet and cord 8.Battery pack 12. Combusting sawdust from job site 3. Single impact 2. Compressed air 6.wind Solution to sub-problem of applying translational energy to nail 1. Fuel-air combustion 5.Solar cell 16.Human power 14. Multiple impacts (tens or hundreds) . Self regulating chemical reaction emitting high pressure gas 2.Fuel cell 13.Solution to sub-problem of storing or accepting energy 1.Steam 17. Hydraulic 9.

Solution to sub-problem of applying translational energy to nail (contd.. Push . Multiple impacts (hundreds or thousands) 5. Twist-push 4.) 3.

There are two specific tools for managing the complexity and organizing the thinking of the team. the team will have collected tens or hundreds of concept fragments. 2. 1.Systematic Exploration As a result of the external and internal search activities. Concept Combination Table It guides the team in selectively consider combinations of fragments. For better understanding lets see the example of nailer for the above two tools . One approach to organizing and synthesizing these fragments would be to consider all of the possible combinations of the fragments associated with each sub-problem. Systematic exploration is aimed at navigating the space of possibilities by organizing and synthesizing these solution fragments. Concept Classification Tree It helps the team to divide the possible solutions into independent categories.

Chemical Fuel-air systems Explosive systems Store or Accept Energy Pneumat ic Hydrauli c Wall outlet Battery Fuel cell Nuclear Electrical Concept Classification Tree .

After deep discussions and analysis of each branches of concept classification tree the solution for sub-problems will be selected and forward to further analysis. indicated in the box. For our example of designing a nailer. This can be done easily by the concept combination tree. the following concept combination table will be prepare for solutions of the problem . Electric al Energy Convert energy to translation al energy Accumulat e translation al energy Energy Applied Apply translatio to nail nal energy to nail Now for each sub-problems. lets select electrical energy and prepare concept combination table.

Convert Electrical Energy to Translational Energy Rotary motor with transmission Linear motor Accumulate Energy Apply Translational Energy to Nail Spring Single impact Moving mass Multiple impact Solenoid Push nail Rail gun Concept Combination Table .

Potential solutions to the overall problem are formed by combining one fragment from each column. Convert Electrical Energy to Translational Energy Rotary motor with transmission Linear motor Accumulate Energy Apply Translational Energy to Nail Spring Single impact Moving mass Multiple impact Solenoid Push nail Rail gun .





Requirements can be attached to functions.What does it means function means tree? In engineering design. At the top level main functions are identified. Each means is in turn decomposed into functions with means attached to each of them. Under each function. A well elaborated function means tree span a design space where all concepts under consideration are represented. a means (or solution element) is attached. . a function–means tree is a method for functional decomposition  and concept generation. Alternative solution elements can also be attached.

A partial Function-Means Tree For a Cigarette lighter Primary function Possible means of achieving the primary function Secondary function Secondary means .