What is a proof of concept (PoC)?

A proof of concept (PoC) is a way of testing the feasibility and potential of a new idea, product, or project before investing more time and resources into it. A PoC can be seen as a demonstration or experiment that shows that a concept or theory can be applied in practice and has some value. A PoC can be used to validate assumptions, identify risks, collect feedback, and measure interest from customers, investors, or stakeholders.

For example, if you have an idea for a new software application, you might create a PoC that shows the basic functionality and design of the app, without developing all the features and details. You can then use the PoC to show your idea to potential users or investors and get their opinions and suggestions. A PoC can help you decide whether to continue with your idea or not, based on the results and feedback you get.

A PoC is different from a prototype or a minimum viable product (MVP), which are more advanced and refined versions of an idea that are closer to the final product. A PoC is usually small, simple, and incomplete, while a prototype or an MVP is more complex, realistic, and functional. A PoC is meant to prove that an idea is possible and worth pursuing, while a prototype or an MVP is meant to test and improve how an idea works and performs in real-world scenarios.

Some examples of PoCs in different fields are:

  • In drug development, clinical trials are used to test whether a new drug is safe and effective for humans, providing proof of concept for a final product.

  • In software development, a mockup or a wireframe is used to show the layout and design of a new website or app, providing proof of concept for the user interface.

  • In business development, a pitch deck or a business plan is used to present the vision and value proposition of a new venture, providing proof of concept for the market opportunity.

A PoC is an important step in the innovation process, as it helps you explore and validate your ideas before investing too much time and money into them. A PoC can also help you communicate your ideas more effectively and convincingly to others who might support or fund your project. A PoC can save you from wasting resources on ideas that are not viable or desirable, and help you focus on ideas that have real potential and impact.