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.

DesireValue 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

Kishau Rogers

Kishau Rogers is an award-winning technology entrepreneur specializing in wrangling complexity using computer science, systems thinking, creativity, and common sense. She is the Founder & CEO of Time Study, Inc., a high-growth startup offering solutions for using machine learning, advanced natural language processing, and data science to automatically tell a story of how enterprise employees spend their time and its impact on the areas that matter. As the Founder and CEO of Time Study, Kishau is one of the first Black women in Virginia to raise millions in venture capital to scale her tech startup. She is also the owner of Websmith Studio and the editor of the bigThinking project, a resource for promoting the principles of systems thinking.

Kishau’s work is featured in Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur, and Black Enterprise. In addition, she is a recipient of many awards, including the VCU Distinguished Alumni (in Computer Science), NAWBO Wells Fargo STEM award, the Lyn McDermid Community Impact Award, and the MBL Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

In her commitment to using technology as a tool for social good, she also serves as an advisor to organizations and initiatives like AI for Afrika, Think Of Us, WAAW Foundation, Level Up Ventures, Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Computer Science, the first U.S. White House Hackathon for Foster Care and SheHacks Africa, a software engineering intensive providing training to women & girls across Africa.

She holds a Computer Science degree and has over twenty-five years of experience in the technology industry and more than 15 years of entrepreneurial leadership.



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