Idea vs Concept
Idea and Concept are two words that are often confused due to the appearing similarity in their meanings, even though there is a difference between the two words. When paying attention to the definitions of each term, one can comprehend the differences that exist between the two terms. An idea refers to a plan formed by mental effort. On the other hand, concept refers to a procedure. This is the main difference between idea and concept. This article attempts to clarify the difference between an idea and concept through an understanding of both terms.
What is an Idea?
The word ‘idea’ often refers to a mental impression. In the day today language, we use this word quite often. We sometimes use it to present a suggestion that we have or a particular desire or ambition. For an example, someone says:
‘I had the idea of writing a book on Italian cuisine.’
This suggests that the person has a desire to write a book. It can even be interpreted as a plan that an individual has. Let us take another example. A group of friends meet after a long time and would like to go out and spend some quality time. One by one, they bring in their suggestions. One friend says:
‘I have an idea, why don’t we go to the newly opened restaurant by the theater.’
This is a suggestion that implies the usage of the term. It can also be referred to a vague notion as in the following sentence.
‘I had an idea that you were married.’
In this sentence, the speaker is not sure whether the person is married or not. A striking difference between an Idea and Concept is that an Idea is formed by an individual whereas a concept is laid by a group of individuals. Now let us move on to the next term ‘Concept’, in order to get a clear idea of the difference.
What is a Concept?
A Concept is quite different to an idea. It refers to a procedure or an abstract idea. In various academic disciplines also we learn about different concepts. For an example, let us concentrate on Sociology. In Sociology, there are various perspectives, theories and also concepts. Concepts, in this sense, refer to the various interpretations of terms. For an example, Durkheim spoke of Organic and Mechanic solidarity. These are two concepts that are being studied when focusing on the transition from traditional societies to modern societies. Let us take a single concept for elaboration. Mechanical solidarity suggests that the bond among people in traditional societies is created through homogeneity. It is the similarities that bind the people together. This highlights that the term Concept is used to describe a particular idea that is abstract in nature. In the day today conversation, we use the term concept as well. Look at the two sentences given below:
- It is a political concept.
- The members did not accept the concept.
In the first sentence, the word ‘concept’ refers to a certain procedure. In the second sentence also, it refers to a procedure or a process. Another difference between idea and concept is that an idea is not abstract in nature whereas concept is abstract in nature. A concept is an abstract notion. Now let us summarize the differences between idea and concept in the following manner.
What is the Difference Between an Idea and a Concept?
- An idea refers to a plan formed by mental effort whereas a concept refers to a procedure.
- Idea is formed by an individual whereas a concept is laid by a group of individuals.
- An idea is not abstract in nature whereas concept is abstract in nature.
1. Idea by Pictofigo (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
2. “Ogi Shirakawa02bs3200” by 663highland [CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons
Joe Decker says
Not really satisfied with your description here because you end up saying that a ‘concept’ is an abstract IDEA. Very confusing. I relate to the individually planned actionable idea, but when you equate concept to process, procedures are also actionable; without differentiating between a plan and a procedure which are both planned process, that are carried out by action.
ALIU ALHASSAN WUMBEI says
He said concept is abstract in nature, not ideas. The concept is done by group of persons whiles the idea is a think of one mental posited.