Reviewing Concepts

Concepts are initial ideas, sketches, plans, on how things could look and be built out. They’re not meant to be final but rather starters for discussion, the means of inquiry.

Here’s Elon Musk’s sketch for his proposed “Hyperloop.”

Reviewing Concepts

Here’s Jack Dorsey rough sketch of Twitter.

Reviewing Concepts

The sketch is a jumping off point. By all means, criticize it, toss it, or add to it.  But as a reviewer, don’t make believe it’s ready to ship unless you’re prepared to sketch one yourself.

Creativity is a work in process and understanding, the endeavor to turn meaningful concepts into life. All ideas from scratch and then grow in the execution.


Proof of Concept

A concept is a rough draft. A proof of concept is a rough draft backed by the practicability of execution.

Concepts are meant to be far-fetched. They should go beyond conventional wisdom in an attempt to get others thinking about all the possibilities.

  • Novelty: Something new
  • Creation: Something new and valuable
  • Invention: Something new, having potential value through utility
  • Innovation: Something new and uniquely useful

Horace Dediu

Concepts can fall into any of the categories above, culminating in innovation. Concepts describe how things could be when nothing is out of scope.

The hardest part about concepts is following up and doing the work. Research, management, and experimentation come with hurdles. You may discover that the infrastructure fails to meet the mission. Uber would still be a concept without the spread of Internet-connected mobile phones and apps.

Concepts are business dreams, far from impossible. Elon Musk’s Hyperloop blueprint shows what a practicable pipe dream looks given the funds and teamwork to make it happen.

In short, concepts are visions for the future. The challenge is in embracing patience and working backward to make concepts happen.