Value Proposition & The 16 Basic Desires Theory

In performing customer discovery to determine value proposition, focusing on your idea uncovers its value to you. Focusing on the customer uncovers what is truly important to them.
Understanding value proposition is important in thinking through problems and designing solutions that meet the needs of your intended audience. Delivering value that is compelling improves your ability to connect authentically and establishes a cohesive and strong foundation upon which your decisions and actions are built. Customer discovery is the process of collecting stories from your target audience, not a process for selling your idea. Centering the conversation around your idea will only uncover the value that the idea offers to you. Centering your conversation around your target audience uncovers what is truly important to them. While customer discovery is important to validate our ideas; it is understanding the compelling needs of your audience that enables you to deliver solutions that matter to them.


TRY THIS EXERCISE : Aligning Value Propositions with Desire

After studying more than 6,000 people, Steven Reiss, Ohio State Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, developed a theory that identifies 16 basic desires that guide nearly all human behavior. If you have an existing product, try to align what you are offering with one of the values below. If you have a new idea, talk to several strangers that represent your target audience to determine which of the 16 values matters most to them. This is the first step to deciding where to solve problems, how to deliver value and how to ensure its broader impact.

Desire Value Proposition – How Will You Deliver?
1. Acceptance – the need to be appreciated
2. Curiosity, the need to gain knowledge
3. Eating, the need for food
4. Family, the need to take care of one’s offspring
5. Honor, the need to be faithful to the customary values of an individual’s ethnic group, family or clan
6. Idealism, the need for social justice
7. Independence, the need to be distinct and self-reliant
8. Order, the need for prepared, established, and conventional environments
9. Physical activity, the need for work out of the body
10. Power, the need for control of will
11. Romance, the need for mating or sex
12. Saving, the need to accumulate something
13. Social contact, the need for relationship with others
14. Social status, the need for social significance
15. Tranquility, the need to be secure and protected
16. Vengeance, the need to strike back against another person
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Kishau Rogers is the editor and founder of The bigThinking Project. The bigThinking Project is a resource center and collaborative innovation project which promotes the principles of systems thinking. Our mission is to empower the next generation of innovators to think bigger, to think better and to create solutions which make significant impact in the areas that matter. Kishau Rogers is an award-winning entrepreneur with over twenty years of experience in the computer science industry. She is a serial entrepreneur having founded and co-founded companies such as Websmith Group, TimeStudy, PeerLoc Inc., and Websmith Studio.

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