Value creation

Lecture handout: Value creation*

Textbook Reading: Chapter 1 (Section 1.2, pp. 16-29)

The purpose of this session is to realise that value comes from satisfying people’s needs, and that this leads to a broad and insightful realisation that:

  • Competition is when anyone else tries to satisfy the same customer needs that you do.
  • Innovation is trying to find better ways to satisfy your customers needs.
  • Entrepreneurship is successful when you understand your customers needs better than they do.

For more information about David Reynold’s model of the Brent Bravo oil rig, see here and here. In 2013 Barry King tried to beat Reynold’s record by constructing a model of Salisbury Cathedral (which is a popular tourist destination for KGB agents). You can read more here. Since 2012 Steve Waller has spent around 12 hours a day to create a scale model of the St Hilda district in Middlesbrough. We may respect these creations, but unless we have a need that they satisfy, that doesn’t make them valuable.

Here’s a list of items that have caused controversy over their value:

  • The ‘I am rich’ app (link)
  • Among Us shaped chicken nugget sold for almost $100,000 (link)
Activity: Here is a worksheet on understanding value. Here is a short quiz on understanding value. Here is an application to Food and Beverage management.

Here is evidence that kids enjoy going to Ikea:

@drkrupnikIKEA is a kids activity!♬ Happy and fun corporate music for advertising. – TimTaj

For a great article showing the combination of Ikea, DIY, and  female social media influencers, see “Sisters are doing it for themselves“, The Economist, December 23rd 2023

Steve Job’s famous advice was to not listen to your customers. This is in contrast to Tyler Cowen’s “law of interesting content” – which is that interviewers should have the conversation that they want, not what they think their listeners want.

I think it is incorrect to say that the reason diamonds are more valuable than water is because they are scarcer. This would be using the term “scarcity” to refer to a relative amount of present consumption, but that is obtuse. We normally use scarcity as a collective assessment of the availability of a good. In other words, there is no such thing as personal scarcity.

For an overview of the water-diamond paradox:

Learning Objectives: Link a thorough concept of value with implications for competition and innovation. Derive demand curves.

Cutting edge theory: Jobs to be done

Focus on diversity: Economists typically take preferences as given, but we can provide a theory of demand reflecting “the individual’s commitment to an intelligible universe” (p.52), where goods are considered to be a visible reflection of culture. Mary Douglas (1921-2007) was one of the world’s most admired social anthropologists, and her 1979 book, ‘The World of Goods’, provided a rich and compelling illumination of consumption patterns. 

Spotlight on sustainability: Plastic packaging