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Generate Solution Concepts

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Explain how to synthesize ideas.
  • Define solution concepting.

Idea Synthesis

If you’ve completed other badges in the Learn Strategy Design trail, you’ve learned about some key concepts and steps involved in strategy design, from framing a challenge to idea generation. In this module, you learn how to create a strategic vision.

You’ve done your research and pinpointed some interesting design opportunities. You’ve also facilitated some ideation sessions. Odds are you won’t come out of your ideation sessions with well-formed concepts. Instead, you can take the raw ideas you generate during brainstorming and shape them into concepts. To do this, synthesize ideas after brainstorming just as you did after research interviews as covered in the Research for Strategy Design module. Create groupings of similar ideas and label each group as a theme, based on what types of ideas are inside.

Take note of the themes that emerged. You may decide to combine two or more ideas within a theme, especially if they feel like they could belong to the same experience. Are there themes worth exploring further, even if the ideas you collected weren’t quite right? 

Select the ideas and themes you want to move forward with. Though they are likely still half-formed ideas, they should be the strongest ones from all your combined ideation sessions to set you up for building the strongest possible concepts. Set up a fresh workspace, because you’re about to reorganize the ideas to help generate concepts. 

Formats: What You’re Building

In many cases, concepts are experiences delivered in one of these formats.

  • Website
  • Service
  • Mobile site or app
  • Connected device
  • Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) experience
  • In-person or virtual event
  • Store or other physical space
  • Platform
  • Multi-touchpoint experience

Concepts come to life in how you describe them, including what the experience does and how it feels. Here are some examples that align to our Cloud Kicks project challenge.

Concept Name


Live Tracker

Customers access a tracker, visualized as a process map, via web or phone, showing them pictures of their order and facts about Cloud Kicks’s sustainability efforts as the order travels through the manufacturing and shipping journey. 

The Daily

Customers get a daily email post-purchase with a status update on their order and some daily inspiration related to their sneakers, the community, Cloud Kicks, and sustainable products.

Digital Head Start

Cloud Kicks partners with a video game company that lets buyers of real-life custom sneakers use the same designs on their game avatars, with no waiting period.

Personal Assistance

Customers ask their support questions to an always-on chat bot that brings the feeling of personal service to the problem-solving interaction. 


Each of these concepts fulfills the brief, but they do it in dramatically different ways. There are unique pros and cons, technology and business implications, and organizational capabilities required by each concept. They are distinct from each other, and wouldn’t make sense to combine, even though they’re all on-brand for Cloud Kicks.

In the next unit, you learn some key considerations for narrowing solution concepts, and explore how Consequence Scanning can help you thoroughly critique your ideas before you propose them as solutions.

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