At Haughton Design, we commonly have the problem of generating too many solutions and concepts, rather than too few.

Because of this, we’ve honed our concept selection criteria over the years and are quite critical with our judgements.

Not only do we use our skills, expertise, and experience to back decision making, but we also utilise several internally developed tools, that are built upon existing and popular concept selection methods such as Pugh Concept Selection, Risk Analysis, Team Voting, SWOT Analysis, Importance/Urgency Mapping, etc. These tools mitigate the risk of human error, as they force the designer to consider most, or all, aspects that are critical to the successful development of a new product.

Our most successful tools to quickly evaluate early concepts are Concept Judgement Matrices.

Lightweight Concept Judgement Matrix

This is a quick validation tool that’s constructed early on in a project to evaluate the feasibility of a solution. This can be quite broad ranging and just review factors such as aesthetics, functionality, manufacturability, serviceability, etc.


Full Specification Judgement Matrix

A full specification judgement matrix requires a thorough product specification to be developed beforehand. It then weighs each specification point against itself to output a weighted or ranked specification. This ranked specification is then assessed against each concept proposal reviewing how well or poorly it meets the requirements of the specification. This effectively and impartially analyses each concept and mathematically ranks them in order against the product specification.

It’s common for us to observe products on both the macro and micro scale simultaneously. We may be looking at a critical area such as the connection joint between two-piece parts ‘What’s the best type of fastener for this assembly?’, and the larger view of ‘If we design it like this, how will the user perceive it’s intended function?’.

It’s to be noted that these tools alone do not guarantee success, nor always produce the ‘best’ or ‘right’ solution as there are other factors in a full development project to consider. However, they offer a quick qualitative judgement to help focus on the strongest ideas.

As the tools and content within them are constructed before each evaluation, there lies opportunity for human bias and error to occur. Therefore, each tool should be critiqued and reviewed independently against a project’s needs prior to the generation of each score. We first do this internally, then request agreement from all project stakeholders to ensure that all of their requirements are met and weighted accordingly. Using these tools adds a little more formality than personal choice and often generates an impartial alternative view to the perceived front runners chosen by individual stakeholders.

If you would like to learn more about how exactly HD’s Concept Selection Process can help your medical device or product development, please reach out to

William Morris - Senior Design Development Engineer & Business Development Manager at Haughton Design Will Morris 19 March 2021


Get in Touch with Will Morris

Senior Design Development Engineer & Business Development Manager

Will graduated from the University of Wolverhampton with a degree in Product Design. Prior to Haughton Design, Will worked for Renishaw, where he led the industrial design for the current and next generation metal Additive Manufacturing machines. Will has a strong interest in Design for Sustainability, and the Circular Economy, looking to reduce companies’ environmental impact and often teaches about design engineering at local STEM events. Outside of work, Will enjoys Formula 1, rugby and travelling with friends.

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