Serious concepting
Book cover

In 2014 Serious Concepting was launched in book-format by Jakob Sutmuller in coproduction with Rudy van Belkom.  

This web environment is the follow-up of the book to reach out to a broader audience.

The ambition is to create a portal that informs and inspires on the subject of developing concepts.

Serious Concepting is based on four principles:

  • Trends
  • Innovation
  • Lifestyle 
  • Cross-sectorality



Serious Concepting starts out with a fundamental understanding of trends that shape and transform society.

Micro trends are new groups of products and services that appear on the market and are visible to us. While figuring out why these kinds of products and services are interesting to consumers, underlying needs could be identified and translated into macro trends.

Macro trends are the vision of a trend researcher on a consumer level and reflect the changing needs and values. Those needs and values influence how we live and what we want. A trend researcher focuses on the development over time or the shift in meaning in response to a changing society.

Mega trends are the larger overarching developments that have great impact on various aspects of our society (consumers, companies, organisations and governments). This level is complex and penetrates society slowly through different layers, in different ways, in different sectors and in different countries.


Innovation with impact

In terms of innovation Serious Concepting focuses on innovation with an above average impact on society.

Serious Concepting doesn’t aim at incremental innovation that focusses merely on small product adjustments, but rather on disruptive and groundbreaking innovation.

These two types of innovation have a more conceptual approach, because they depart from changing needs and values in society.

Disruptive innovations like the taxi service Uber find their origin in the changing needs and expectations of consumers towards mobility, and is fueled by low entry technological standards.

It's the ultimate ambition of Serious Concepting to innovate on the groundbreaking level like the modular mobile phone of Phonebloks (now project ARA by Google). This innovation adressed the growing threat of E-waste and also challenges the technological boundaries of the smartphone industry. 


BSR model (smartagent)

Rather than focusing on traditional target groups characterised by socio-economic features alone, Serious Concepting also looks into the value sets of target groups.

Values build up to a certain lifestyle of individuals or mentality, which is opposed to actual demand, a much more solid approach to improving the quality of life of targetgroups.

A lot of research has been done on the mentality of groups, subsequently translated to a big variety of models. Within Serious Concepting this variety is used to identify the right departure in targeting a group of consumers.

One of the models that is used to understand the basics of mentality segmentation is the BSR model of Smartagent. Society is organised by looking at two contrasts that characterize people: ego-group and introvert-extravert.

Groups and subgroups can then be identified and researched when looking into a specific opportunity for innovation. The value set of a group helps to clearly define their pains and gains, which is crucial in formulating an opportunity. 


Cross sectorality
Cross sectoral innovation

Another important aspect of Serious Concepting is the cross-sectoral approach.

This implies that inspiration for innovation is found by looking into what is going on within different sectors and industries.

It also enables the development of concepts that can be applied in different industries.  

Serious Concepting distinguishes six sectors in which from a consumer perspective, value is created that in a profound way determines our quality of life:

Appearance (our identity), Health (our healthyness), Food (what we can eat), Human Movement (our possibilities to move), Leisure (what we can do in our spare time) and Living (the way how and where we can live). 

By being aware of the significant drivers of change in these sectors, ideas for innovation can spread among them.