This is the initial exploratory step directed at identifying the best product plan. It isn't always appropriate, but it is a life-saver when your product may be targeted at a hyper-competitive market, when it is plowing new ground or when features or price models are not enough to drive the development of the product. In short: when you need to explore the potential for real novelty--this is the "go-to" process. Also, concept discovery should be looked at as an effective means to lower your risk.
Concept discovery is often thought of as being a "sketching" stage (as shown below)--but often has other dimensions, including production of visual models that you and your team or even selected test subjects can interact with.
We have significant skills in concept discovery that includes not only design and ergonomic considerations, but also technology introduction, for this is the best place to test technologies against your target customer's perceptions.
Sometimes Concept Exploration is a purely emotional activity. This is often the case when aesthetics are the primary challenge. Such was the case with the Parasound Halo product line. Parasound had great products, but they were in need of a makeover. This sketch was produced at the client's facilities at our initial meeting.
The design elements from this initial sketch drove the look and features of the entire Parasound Halo line, which has won awards internationally and is the premier product line for the company.