This is a question I ask frequently with clients, and one which often turns into a bit of a debate. It is amazing how many different answers there are to this question!

Defining value well enables you to determine exactly what the problem is. If we fail to link the two concepts – The Problem and Value, we fail to accurately measure the success of any solution. Or to put it more simply, if you fix a problem, do you know who actually cares about it, and does it lead to better outcomes for your customers?

Check out these three criteria for defining value in a product, service or process:

Value is…
1. Meaningly from the customers perspective (not your own perspective!): To know this you need to know who your customers are and what value means to them. You may need to talk to them. This point, in and of itself, may take a while to get clarity on. Start by asking “What are they willing to pay for?”, “Will this actually make a difference for them?”.

2. Done right first time: no mistakes and no rework. Check out this blog post on rework and waste

3. The “thing (i.e the product or the service)” moving through the process is transformed in some way. There is some kind of change.

Before you launch into a continuous improvement initiative, take the time to debate these three points and come to a collective agreement with your team. Once you have this agreement, you are well on the way to solving your problem!