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Thoughts without intuitions are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind.

I. Kant: Critique of Pure Reason.

Have you ever been asked to prepare a concept document?

Organisations at one point or the other, regardless of their size, will face the need to develop their ideas or thoughts about their initiatives or projects to stay ahead of the market, remain competitive, or make progress in their quest for innovation. While some organisations start with a business case, others use the concept document or a business initiative document as the basis for determining whether an entire business case is needed or not.

A concept document is used to flesh out an idea that can later become an investment or a project. It provides a high-level overview of an initiative to key members of your organisation. Depending on the organisation, a business analyst may be asked to create a concept document.

This article highlights seven essential sections to include in your concept document (in no particular order) and provides some tips for getting started.

1. Alignment with the strategic plan

Business initiatives or ideas are often derived from strategic goals and objectives. The concept document should be clear on how the initiative aligns with the organisation's strategic goals and how it will contribute to achieving strategic objectives if implemented.

2. Concept Overview

You should be able to summarise your concept or idea in one paragraph – think of it as an elevator pitch. If you cannot do this, you may need to reconsider your concept's complexity to make it more streamlined and more precise. This paragraph should highlight the fundamental idea behind your idea, its purpose, and its intended outcome.

3. Cost

You should include a brief cost breakdown of any expenses to be incurred in implementing the concept (as much as possible) and potential funding sources. Your calculations do not have to be exact at this point - ballpark figures are fine. The cost of the resources likely to be utilised during the project should also be included if known.

4. Schedule

You should also include the effort needed to implement the concept. As part of the schedule, you may also choose to include a list of the critical tasks or activities required to implement the concept. This should be a general outline, as specific detail is not necessarily required at this point.

5. Background

Here, you can expand on the concept and go into more detail on the reasons for introducing it. Provide some background for implementing the concept, the problems to be solved, and opportunities to be exploited. It's also worth providing an indication of the ongoing benefits anticipated and the project's impact on the broader organisation.

6. Outcomes

Briefly list all the concept's intended outcomes, including the specific, measurable, and deliverable results you expect the idea or concept will achieve.

7. Risks

Include a brief section on risks or the potential limitations of your concept, as well as details of how you will mitigate these risks.

Remember that the concept document is intended to explain your idea and is not designed to represent a solid or fleshed-out plan.

The team of consultants at Enterco can help develop your idea from the initial stages of conception through to initiation.

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