INTRO


People that work as concept developers speak a common language, which enables them to understand each others work. An architect can quite easily explain a concept to a software developer, or even to a scientist. They all develop concepts. What differs is the way they define the word concept.

A spatial concept has other ingredients compared to a scientific concept, it depends on the industry you work in. So based on ingredients, there is some risk of misunderstanding and confusion. The magic therefore must be in something else.

In fact it’s about avoiding the word ‘concept' and introducing the verb ‘concepting'. It’s about a way of thinking! Being able to understand and reflect on abstract phenomena in society, to subsequently translate them into daily life innovation. Or, translating trends into viable products and services. This skill is an important asset in a world that is getting more and more complex; we need creativity to shape our future.

Concepting doesn’t stand alone in aiming at the innovation of products and services. It co-exists with the disciplines of trendwatching and marketing; both also have an important strategic and/or operational role in developing new products and services. The concepting discipline is crucial though in translating abstract trends into concrete guidelines for product and service development.

 

The art of Concepting

 Serious Concepting consists of two distinguishing routes to create value. The creation route derives from the perspective that there is no (or little) context. Consider it as the situation in which a new (business) opportunity is looked into. The improvement route on the other hand starts out with an existing context. That’s when an organisation wants to innovate a current business proposition.

The process of Serious Concepting is framed within these two routes in order to create a certain structure in thinking about innovation. It's not meant to be rigid though. The purpose is to help you find your own way in getting the job done. The different concepting terms used in the process are defined and form the markers by which thinking and creating is organised.  

CREATION ROUTE


The creation route starts at a high level of abstraction, to subsequently evolve into more tangible results, and eventually end up with specific guidelines for product and service development. The whole process is divided into three main phases: research, design and realization. The information that is generated in each phase corresponds to a certain context. It starts out at society level, works through sector and market area level, and it ends up in the context of the organization that is looking into creating new products or services. Crucial to Serious Concepting is that it is an iterative process; results of each phase have to be continuously monitored against prior results.

IMPROVEMENT ROUTE


Serious Concepting can also depart from a situation in which an organization wants to improve their existing business proposition. Through the route of improvement these existing products and services are examined against the background of new insights in the area of trends, target groups, sectoral developments and the focus of the organization.

 

An important aspect of the improvement route is that the innovation of existing products or services is always considered on the right level: taking it back to the  design phase