Our Favorite New Tool for Continuously Creating Value—The Value Proposition Canvas

Our Favorite New Tool for Continuously Creating Value—The Value Proposition Canvas

value proposition design alexander osterwalderWhen we’re designing new solutions for our customers, it can be easy to get caught up in the products and features we create and neglect to ensure that what we are building actually ends up delivering value to our customers. It can be challenging to acquire the necessary deep understanding of what our customers consider valuable. Value Proposition Design, described in the book of the same name written by Alexander Osterwalder, et. al., is great for organizations who are overwhelmed by the task of creating value for customers, a task which can be incredibly difficult without the proper guidance.

According to the authors of this useful method, value proposition design helps people “successfully understand the patterns of value creation” by making them easily visible. Following this method, we don’t just end up designing products, but rather entire value propositions that directly effectively target our customers’ jobs, pains, and gains.

In the book, the authors describe tools that can be used to continuously create and improve value propositions that meet customer expectations. One of the most useful tools that can be applied to discover value propositions is the Value Proposition Canvas.

The Value Proposition Canvas is made up of two sides:

  1. Customer Profile—This part clarifies our customer understanding
  2. Value Map—This part describes how we intend to create value for our customer

The goal is to achieve “Fit” between the two sides of the canvas by ensuring one agrees with the other.

The Customer Profile, or Customer Segment Profile, describes a specific customer segment by breaking it down into customer jobs, pains, and gains. Identify these three items to create a value proposition that our customers want:

  • Gains—The outcomes and benefits customers seek to achieve. Once we identify customer gains, we determine the relevance of each gain, meaning whether the customer gain feels essential or just nice to have.
  • Pains—The bad outcomes, risks, and obstacles related to customer jobs. We must understand how our customers measure pain severity, and determine whether each pain is extreme or moderate.
  • Customer Jobs—The things customers are trying to get done in their work, expressed in their own words.

The Value Map, or Value Proposition Map, helps to describe the features of a specific value proposition by breaking it down into three parts:

  • Products and Services—a list of all products and services that the value proposition is built around
  • Gain Creators—How our products and services create customer gains
  • Pain Relievers—How our products and services alleviate customer pains

Fit is achieved by making the Value Map meet our identified Customer Profile. The pain relievers and gain creators of the Value Map must match one or more of the jobs, pains, and gains that are important to our customer.

We suggest using an automated tool to document information that can be used in the Value Proposition Canvas. Enfocus Solutions provides software and services that help organizations identify and design value propositions to meet customer needs and solve customer problems.

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