Existing technologies designed to support professional product designers focus mainly on the modelling stages of the design process, while the early conceptual stages remain relatively unexplored. There is a need for seamlessly integrating product development tasks into a comprehensive collaborative computer supported design environment that can assist professional product designers. To address this need, a new research and development project funded by the European Commission under the 7th Framework programme has been launched, entitled Collaborative Creative Design Platform (COnCEPT). The research aims to address the technology gap by defining a flexible framework, which can serve as a blueprint for the development of efficient collaborative computer supported environments. The COnCEPT platform will use advanced data-mining algorithms to find appropriate text and visual information to support product designers at the early stages of the design process, making use of past solutions, market data and new emerging technologies. The software will convert the available and contributed information into a form making it accessible to the design team. The project will investigate which interaction techniques are most suited to specific situations and activities, and how they can be combined in one integrated environment. This paper identifies the key design challenges facing the project team, and describes the theoretical basis for the COnCEPT platform's development. The paper also sets out the methodological approach that has been adopted by the researchers, which includes specialists from design, architecture, informatics, and interface design. The research will be evaluated with professional product designers and undergraduate design students. The potential use of a collaborative design platform and its implications for design pedagogy is also explored in the paper.