Value Map

Index cards

Object of play

The end goal of value mapping is to build a visual matrix that quickly and clearly defines areas of interest for something – it can be a service, a product, a plan, a website. It consists of asking people to choose a limited number of features from a bigger collection and then plotting their choices against a matrix. The result can be presented back in a template that resembles a light box, with items that were chosen more times being lit up by brighter colors and items chosen fewer times by weaker colors.

Number of players: 5 – 30

Duration of play: 15  minutes – 2 hours

How to play

This game has three main parts:

1.  Define features and their groups: draw sketches or write down on cards the features or items you want participants to attribute value to. Group them in a way that makes sense to you and plot them on a table that represents these groups

2.  Play: show the collection of feature cards to participants, and ask them to choose a smaller number than the total, so that they need to make choices and leave some features out. A good ratio is 1:3, that is, if you have 30 cards ask people to choose only 10. Another way of doing this is to provide them with imaginary money – say £100 – and tell them they can use this budget to ‘shop’ for features. Keep a record of each participant’s choices.

3. Plotting results: color the cards on the original table according to the number of times they got chosen. Cards that were chosen more times can be colored with stronger or brighter colors, and cards that were chosen less times should be colored with light colors. Cards that were never chosen should remain ‘uncolored’. The matrix should now give you a good – and visual – idea of what areas were received with more interest, and which were not.

Strategy

Value mapping allows you to quickly visualize things that are valued by others – consumers, members of a team, your department, your stakeholders. Understanding general areas of interest can help focus the work (where should we concentrate our efforts?) and to settle internal disputes (“consumers really didn’t like any of the social networking features for this application, so we don’t need to invest in them now”). Try presenting the matrix in a series of slides that show different color groups – it really makes an impression!

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