Design concepts


The result of ideation – early outputs that represent ideas before prototyping begins.


  • A group of possible ideas that can be prioritised, evaluated for suitability and used to define a program of work.
  • A group of ideas that can be used to begin prototyping.

Use when

  • You’re ready to start ideating (generating ideas) and you have a few good ‘how might we’ questions.
  • You need to provide options to sponsors or managers.

Design concepts are not

  • Prototypes – Prototypes are more real and refined than design concepts.


Design concepts can be as rough or as detailed as you think is useful. Remember that your set of design concepts will be evaluated for suitability against your acceptance criteria so don’t spend more time on them than needed.

Key terminology

Acceptance criteria: A set of minimum requirements that a design concept must meet before being further developed or tested, based on user, business and technical requirement.

‘How might we’ questions: Leading questions that focus the team on a goal or outcome, for example; “How might we deliver faster service to customers”.