The value of concept cars

What’s a digital concept car? Borrowed from the automotive world, a concept car is a highly refined and vividly realized manifestation of a design intent, typically bold, striking, compelling expression of where to take a product or portfolio line into the future. It’s a statement of visual, behavioral, and emotional possibilities for an implied product (or set of products). However, a concept car is NOT the final product, nor may it necessarily become productized.

The purpose and rationale of a concept car is primarily provocative exploration, identifying and pushing the boundaries of constraint & possibility, and in doing so achieving an evolved sense of who we are as a company–what do we value? What do we not value? What do we aspire to become? Where do we wish to go?

Concept cars can serve as the vehicle (pun intended :-) for shaping novel directions that inform existing product development efforts, not a “pie-in-the-sky” dream that never materializes or pure lab experiment. This is brilliantly captured in BMW’s latest ad in which the announcer says “Some may call this a concept car. But it’s not a new car. It’s every car we build”, meaning that almost all qualities (formal, technical, artistic) make their way into existing lines, as an ongoing progressive evolution…a multi-disciplinary conversation really.

Core to such concept cars is the primacy of guided, focused vision (not committee led arguing), empathy for customers leaping ahead existing models, and highly realized prototypes–vivid, detailed, performant. The vision drives the concept car. Literally.

It’s vision-centered design in its ultimate form, hopeful and yet grounded…and always pushing the limits of constraints, contingencies, and possibilities. More details soon…


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