What does that five letter word really mean. The value of something? In the world I work in day in and day out value is normally applies to the change relative to the cost provided by a new solution. Cloud Computing is often tagged with a value provided of 20% or more. (It really probably isn’t 20% but that is a different argument). Value is so much more though.
As we come to an age of transition (or we age to the age of transition) in the workforce we are going to see value slip away and new value created. There is a value in having knowledge of what was (tacit) as well as what was documented (explicit). I won’t go on my we are losing information tirade again. Instead let’s talk about the value that isn’t going to be in the organization with the changing workforce.
What is the value of experience? Been there, done that experience? What is the value of optimism? Not wild eyed everything is going to be OK but wild eyed anything is possible optimism? What value lies between those two? The tempering and the envisioning? The best “art of the possible” people sit between those two and pull together an image of what can be done. The value of that person in the middle is fairly easy to get. We call them get things done done people. They aren’t flashy and they bring value in the form of finish.
But there is a value to that dream and a value to what was. How do we within a traditional value equation take advantage of that? I wrote a book about innovation and innovators (its on Amazon). In that book I talked about the shifting market of innovation. That what once was (working in R&D for a big company) doesn’t happen in the Kickstarter/Indiegogo (and others) world. Innovators at times forsake the knowledge of what was.
Memories of what was, the history are important. I learned a lot of my early impressions of the world like most of us from those around me. Teachers, parents and grandparents opening my eyes to a view of what is through the eyes of those that built it. I continue to find value in asking those who were involved in building things how they did it. But I also see that value in people that can build what isn’t there.
The knowledge value chain or perhaps better the knowledge teeter totter has to be balanced. It has to have the ability to allow what was and what will be to balance in the middle. That way, the art of the possible person can translate both ends.
The system also has to be smart enough to know that sometimes just because that is the way things are, it doesn’t have to be the way things will be. Or, that just because it is possible it doesn’t mean it provides value and is therefore needed.
The equation for value is return – cost. I know that is the simplification of that to an nth degree. But frankly all the complexity around value is simply complexity. If something costs more than its return, it doesn’t have value today. That doesn’t mean it won’t have value later. So the value equation is really return (plus time) – cost. Or Return (plus time, and competitive scenario) – cost. sometimes you have to add package tracking because your competitor already did.
My proposed new value equation is this:
Return = Knowledge
Where knowledge represents the balanced what was, and what could be.