Some days ago, I was talking about life with a friend… just old-pals’ things such as how much struggle we had passed through so far, school days, and what we wanted to become then and what we had really become. I must say, this friend of mine is not really into engineering – actually, he believes mine must be the most boring activity on Earth. But somehow he showed a spark of interest. So, he made me a rather simple question” what’s the use of your stuff?”. I said something like - “I design projects to improve the utility value of …” – “Wait! What’s that?”. This was one of those moments in which you realise that, as a specialist in your field, you got used to some terms – and jokes - that perhaps only you and your colleagues are willing to hear. At that time, I wasn’t able to give him a fitted answer, so for the sake of the evening, we changed the subject.
For some time, I analysed what utility value could stand for in a more popular way, took a pencil – well, it was a keyboard, but that’s not the point - and noted down some thoughts. Now, I want to share them with you.
Utility value gathers all the characteristics of a product or service that satisfy its consumers. It involves questions such as:
An ancient family portrait may be more valuable than a yacht. The action of bees on the planet is priceless. Peace is, in itself, a non-economic benefit. There are plenty of examples hardly measurable by price. Utility value demands products and services adapted to meet consumers' goals, and not the opposite.
Then, providers and users have to deal with this concept from opposite perspectives:
Summarising, providing utility value represents the interests of consumers and should be the core goal of products and services. Fortunately, this trend is becoming strong nowadays. We are changing from “let’s create something and make people love it” to “let’s find what people love, and create it”. Great focus!