One-Pagers, Briefs and Concept Notes

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Resources


Briefs, similar to an Executive Summary, are one-page documents that provide concise information on an idea or proposed project. This could be a business venture, research work, or initiative. A concept note is a summarized document written by an innovator, researcher, or mobilizer to communicate the key ideas of a project to decision-makers. This can typically span two to five pages.

These documents provide an outline of an idea or project to get support in funding, collaboration and any other form. In addition to conveying the thoughts of its author, it also aids clarity for the author.

Though Briefs and Concept Notes are usually written to an audience of decision makers, the first benefit it offers is that it helps an innovator to clarify and articulate her thoughts on an idea or project before committing resources to it. 

Potential areas of complexity to communicate can be an early indication on the complexity of information. Therefore, helping the innovator to streamline and focus on the simplest means through which the project objectives can be achieved.

The need to provide succinct and concise information helps an innovator to priorotise and select the most important ideas on a project for communication with decision makers and potential partners.

It also helps decision makers to quickly assess if a project is in alignment with their interests before an innovator commits a substantial level of resources into projects with an expectation of support. Some may provide feedback on how the project can be tailored to their interests which are more easily implemented if provided before the project.

  1. Is the concept note appropriately titled?
  2. Does the introduction or ‘background’ of the project clearly state the problem you are trying to solve?
  3. Are the goals and objectives clearly stated?
  4. Are the expected results clearly stated?
  5. Is the uniqueness of the idea highlighted?
  6. Is the budget properly stated?
  7. Is the document concluded with the desired call-to-action?