Value Proposition in Design Thinking

The core of the business model is the value proposition of your solution to the customer. To be able to understand how your solution capabilities benefit the customer, consider an archer who aspires to hit the target using his bow and arrows. You, as an entrepreneur, want to build a solution
that helps the customer hit the target:

◾ Better. If the solution improves the way the particular user went about fulfilling his/her need, the solution value proposition is that it helps the user hit the target better. The benefit could be helping the user maximize some aspect that he/she intends to maximize or alleviate a pain that the user is wishing to minimize. Better translates into a competitive
"Quality Advantage" for the customer where the solution is more accurate and consistent in the delivery of value.

◾ Cheaper. If the solution lets the user hit the target at a lower cost, the value proposition is cheaper. This translates into a competitive Cost Advantage over your competition.

◾ Faster. If the solution lets the user hit the target in a shorter amount of time and permits hitting more targets than it used to hit, your value proposition is faster. This translates into an "Efficiency Advantage" over your competition.

◾ Easier. If the solution helps the user hit the target in an easier way, the value proposition is easier. If the user is able to hit the target with more ease, comfort, pleasure, delight or novelty, it translates into an Experience Advantage over your competition. The target could be helping the user do any of the following:

◾ Finish a job. The famous “Jobs to Be Done” concept from Clayton Christensen of the Harvard Business School describes it well. In short, when a user buys a product or service, he/she actually is hiring that product or service to do a job. For example, you buy a thermometer to do the job of measuring your body temperature. You buy a car to do
the job of transporting yourself from one location to another as well as doing the job of projecting a specifc image about yourself to your friends, family and strangers.

◾ Accomplish a goal. We are a collection of jobs that we do on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis. Each specific job helps us accomplish a goal. For example, we buy a car to help us do the job of going from our home to work, and by doing this job we are accomplishing the goal of reaching work or back home in a timely fashion.

◾ Realize a vision. As we think more deeply and abstract the concept to a higher level, the goals that we accomplish in life helps us realize our vision about our life. Continuing the example of owning a car, which helps us achieve our goal of reaching our required destination in a timely and comfortable fashion, we realize our vision to provide for our
family, maintain our relationships, earn a respectable living or spend quality time with our family by driving in a comfortable car that can reliably transport us from one location to the next (Figure Below).

Hit the target Illustration
Hit the target

To help you understand the various aspects of the target, imagine the following analogy of a high school soccer team hoping to win the upcoming state championship. To win the championship, they have to win many games in the tournament. To win a game, they need to score against the
opponent and block opponents from scoring. To achieve that, they need to plan, practice and execute on the strategy. In addition to playing the games, they need to have a place to gather, practice, work out and so on. The coach needs a way to build a team, evaluate and select players, measure and record performance metrics and do many other jobs.
In this case, the vision of the team is to win the championship.

The goal is to win individual games of the tournament against several opponents.
The job that they need to finish is to score goals and block goals against them during the game. There are also jobs which need to be performed before the game and afterwards, such as practice, plan, execute and review.
Jobs could also be considered as actions by the players on the field, such as passing the ball between the players, intercepting the opponent passing and soon (Figure Below).

Vision, Goal and Job Diagram
Vision, Goal and Job

Now imagine a business example. We have all been used to calling rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft for our needs to go from one place to another. These ride-share companies help users solve the problem of going from one location to another. Now consider that these companies are ideating on newer revenue streams. They can consider the segment of working parents who need to have a safe way of taking their children from home to school and activities and back home. In this scenario, they will be helping customers do the job of dropping kids to school, picking them up from school and dropping them at an after-school activity and then picking them up from the after-school activity location and taking them back home. The job still remains picking from a location and dropping to a location, but the goal for the parents is to have a child-safe, reliable and trustworthy way of picking up and dropping off kids. And the vision is to ensure the intellectual and psychological well-being of the kids and their parents’ freedom to focus on their daily routine instead of worrying about leaving work earlier to pick up and drop off kids.

As you think about your product or service, have a clear understanding of how you are helping the user in realizing a vision and accomplishing a goal as the user finishes a job using your solution.

Once you have this clarity, you can achieve differentiation by enabling the user to hit the target in a manner superior to what the current and future alternatives can do. This superiority or competitive advantage could be a solution that is:
◾ Better – Enabling quality advantage
◾ Faster – Enabling effciency advantage
◾ Cheaper – Enabling cost advantage
◾ Easier – Enabling experience advantage

1. Value proposition Template

Use template Below to document your value proposition.

 Value proposition Template
Value proposition Template

2. Value proposition Example

Here's an example of how your template should look once
filled completely

 Value proposition map Example
Value proposition map Example

3. Guidance

Session Lead
Draw a large circle on the whiteboard (about five feet in diameter) and a concentric inner smaller circle (about one foot in diameter), review the use cases created in Stage 2 (Step 5) and discuss and write down the target your solution will help customers hit in the following manner.
Select three colours of sticky notes. One colour will be for jobs, the second colour will be for goals and the third colour will be to document the customer vision.

Using the appropriate coloured sticky notes, write the jobs your solution will help the user to finish, the goals your solution will help the user to achieve and the vision your solution will help the user to realize. Paste these sticky notes in the inner circle.

3-minute Self-brainstorm for Each Job, Goal and Vision
Selecting each job, goal or vision from the inner circle, give the team three minutes to write down how the solution helps the user hit the target better, cheaper, faster or easier. Make sure that you use the same colour sticky note
as the job, goal or vision. It will be helpful to review the use case step your team would have done earlier as well.
After each round, ask the team members to come and paste the sticky notes on the appropriate quadrant of the value proposition map.

Team Brainstorm
Once all the ideas are up on the wall, review them within the team, discuss the value propositions and clarify understanding. You’ll see themes emerging across the four quadrants. Cluster the related sticky notes into themes to
clearly see your solution’s value proposition for your customers.

3.1 Document Assumptions

After the session, the session lead should ask the team to write down all the
assumptions made and record those assumptions in assumptions template in Stage 4.

3.2 Review Prior Steps

Review the prior steps and adjust as needed with the consensus of the team.