Research Phase
The research phase

The main focus in the research phase is constructing a valuefit, which subsequently has to be translated into a concept statement.

Together this build up to the body of thought, on which further decisions in the process of Serious Concepting are based and reflected upon.

Within Serious Concepting the valuefit is a profound combination of results from four distinguishing research areas: lifestyle, organisation, trends and sector: LOTS. These research areas each have their own specific methods and tools. 

The final step in the research phase is defining a conceptstatement. This is a short slogan-like reading that illustrates the choices made in the valuefit. 

The conceptstatement is an anchor for further innovation; all choices in terms of concept design are connected to this statement.

The scope in the research phase is within the context of society and sector. This is the most abstract level, and the results that appear will subsequently be translated to more detailed levels in the following phases, in order to eventually start with the execution of a concept.


LOTS analysis
LOTS analysis

By looking into the lifestyle of a certain target group (L) and into (consumer) trends (T), perspectives arise on established and evolving values in society. 

By subsequently looking into the interesting developments and existing business propositions in different sectors (S), and into the business focus of an organization (O), perspectives arise on opportunities in the market that can create value. This can be economic and/or social value. 

By combining both perspectives, the valuefit is created: values meet value.

Or, by creating a valuefit that takes the important values of targetgroups into account and on the other hand the perspectives of how to create value, a balanced starting point is defined to create future proof concepts that improve quality of life.


Vauefit canvas
MOTS analysis to canvas

In order to create futureproof concepts that improve the quality of life for a certain mentality group (M), an opportunity has to be explored that corresponds to a specific pain and gain.

A gain is more than just the acute individual demand for an existing product or service in the market. Even so, the pain is more than the inability of an individual to meet this demand.

In fact a gain relates to a latent need of a mentality group that hasn't become manifest yet. It corresponds with the important values of that mentality group. The pain in addition is that this latent need cannot be met, because the market hasn't yet discovered the possibilities and opportunities. The pain and gain become manifest within a certain lifestyle sector, and therefore has different expressions in terms of products and services.  

The opportunity has to be phrased by using not only the specific pain and gain of a mentality group (M), but also by extracting the relevant results from the other research areas: organisation (O), trends (T), sector (S). Together we call this the value fit. A canvas is created to organise this information.



Marketdriven concepting
Marketdriven concepting

Often the creation or improvement of a concept departs from information merely gathered on the organisation and sector level. By mainly looking at business propositions taken to the market by competitors in the sector, an organisation focusses on short-term innovation.

This is called marketdriven concepting; or, how can I create a business opportunity that will deliver short term (economic) value?

In this process the target group is set on a general level in order to include all possible clients. Mentality is not looked into much and not very well defined.

Furthermore there is none or little attention for trends in society, so long term change is excluded. 

The result of marketdriven concepting is a valuefit that consists of an opportunity that has the characteristics of a short term solution, rather than of a chance to innovate on a profound future proof level. The corresponding pains and gains are in line with existing demand, and not so much meet the potential need that corresponds with the values of a certain mentality or lifestyle.



Trenddriven concepting
Trenddriven concepting

On the other hand a concepting process can depart from information within the research areas of trends and mentality. An opportunity then is observed through connecting interesting trends to the mentality of a certain target group.

The result is a starting point with a high level of abstraction, because one is merely looking into existing latent values of a target group and evolving values on the society level.

Serious Concepting focusses on trends with an outlook of five to ten years, called macro trends

There is little or no connection with information on sector and organization level.

The target group in the trenddriven approach is defined by their set of values, and therefore forms a mentality group.

The pains and gains are on the level of latent needs, so it's not quite clear yet how this will trickle down to a market demand. 

The corresponding opportunity is more of a strategic future perspective. It can inspire an organisation to focus on change, rather than help out in creating a perspective on how to improve the existing business proposition.



Serious concepting
Serious concepting

Both the marketdriven and the trenddriven approach deliver a suboptimal result. Serious Concepting aims at creating concepts that have future perspective, but at the same time include ingredients for immediate change.

The process of Serious Concepting therefore is balanced, by using and weighing the results from all four different MOTS research areas: mentality, organisation, trends and sector.

It's not a coincidence that it starts out with mentality (M). In order to create the right future perspective, the target group has to be explored through their values and corresponding pains and gains. In order to get more in touch with the size of the target group, other socio-economic features have to be investigated (gender, geography, income). 

Subsequently one has to look into the other research areas. Defining the focus of the organisation (O), in order to see if targeting the mentality group matches its mission and goals. Furthermore marking out relevant trends (T) that fit the target group and the organisation. Finally distinguishing the important developments and propositions in a sector (S). 

In practise the incentive for a concepting assignment can start out with signals from any of the MOTS research areas. To make it a Serious Concepting assignment though, the focus in the beginning has to be on pains and gains of a target group. In this way it is user-centered with future perspective. 


                                                                             PHASE 1: RESEARCH
   The main focus in the research phase is the construction of one or more valuefits. 


                                                                                                 PHASE 2: DESIGN                        
The main goal in the design phase is the creation  of multiple conceptdesigns 


The main objective in the realization phase is defining the detailed outlines of a concept