In our Design to Value book value drivers are explored in depth. Rather than a brief or a set of specifications, the design process is orchestrated at a higher level of Problem Statement and Value Drivers. Together, the development of these captures the purpose and evolves the understanding of requirements. The Problem statement and value drivers may read something like this: -

Manufacturing Site A has evolved over time into a Jigsaw of process buildings, development buildings, support functions, and office accommodation. Some of the site is highly utilised, while others have been mothballed. There is a mixture of asset age and the site has a number of ongoing and proposed investment cycles to replace or renovate e.g. automation systems and utilities.

How can the site develop a masterplan which: -

• Brings to life the value and issues

• Looks at multiple layers of value: - financial, operation, adaptability, environmental, aesthetics, investment attractiveness etc.

• Allowing the modelling of future scenarios helping to optimise decision making

• Leaves the client with an output that helps to share and sell their message.


How to lead the provision of modular infrastructure for autonomous electrical vehicles in a smart way that provides value to cities, society, fleet operations, stakeholders and the workforce.

How to respond to early opportunities such as an Autonomous Vehicle Trial, and adapt to the evolution of technology.

Value Drivers: -


A reduction in self-drive fossil fuel car use, resulting in lower emissions, reduced environmental impact (e.g. improved air quality) and reduced traffic.


Reduced environmental impact with increased mobility and opportunities.


Service satisfaction and positive customer experience.


High-quality job opportunities.


Financial return over a reasonable cycle (e.g. 10 years) with low/medium financial risk and brand value of being first to market.


A return on franchise investment and attractiveness of the franchise.

Developing these is a critical part of developing a clear understanding of the stakeholders and their individual paradigm of value. Engaging with the different groups will further enhance the knowledge and often change, modify or clarify the needs. Creating, innovating, and assessing design ideas can only be done within the context of this captured understanding.

What needs to be remembered is that Value is not generated at a single point, there is a value chain. For instance, a good experience at a restaurant may start with the availability of the menus, ease of booking, adaptability to your needs. Then move on to the welcome, the ambience, the food, the price, and so on. 

And in the Value chain there may be clear ambiguities or conflicts that need to be resolved. These can be brought to life by creating a value landscape. This is a visualisation of the different stakeholders. Take Company A that wants to deliver affordable quality housing as part of a long-term secure investment of funds. To do this they need to develop a product, get it built by a Developer, and attract people to live in the accommodation, Dwellers. The designer of the product could develop a very simple value landscape using the Kano model (a product value model) where Threshold Attributes are minimum standards, Performance Attributes are the-more-the-better and Excitement Attributes are just that. Through doing this, the designer can start to see incongruities in the value chain.

The conclusion may be drawn that although there is alignment between Company A and the Dweller, with affordability matching the lower returns; the great-place-to-live matching the social change agenda; and the habitability matching the reputation, there are some discrepancies with the Developer. Their business model is different, working in and looking to protect a market with greater demand than supply they are looking for higher short-term returns and the market dictates that quality standards are not such an issue because Dwellers have so few options. The answer is not to try to design the impossible but to help to re-structure the whole value chain. 

The idea of analysing the value landscape may not occur to most architects, designers or project managers; being more comfortable in focusing on the asset, the aesthetics, the technical details or the physical deliverables. However, without this context there is an inevitability that the true opportunity for value delivery will never be achieved. 

Our Design to Value book, gives many examples where a multitude of stakeholders are brought into the arena of problem definition, problem solving, and design. When this happens not only are exquisite solutions found, but there is positive change enacted through the engagement itself.

Professor John Dyson spent more than 25 years at GlaxoSmithKline, eventually ending his career as VP, Head of Capital Strategy and Design, where he focussed on developing a long-term strategic approach to asset management.
While there, he engaged Bryden Wood and together they developed the Front End Factory, a collaborative endeavour to explore how to turn purpose and strategy into the right projects – which paved the way for Design to Value. He is committed to the betterment of lives through individual and collective endeavours.
As well as his business and pharmaceutical experience, Dyson is Professor of Human Enterprise at the University of Birmingham, focussing on project management, business strategy and collaboration.
Additionally, he is a qualified counsellor with a private practice and looks to bring the understanding of human behaviour into business and projects.
To learn more about our Design to Value philosophy, read Design to Value: The architecture of holistic design and creative technology by Professor John Dyson, Mark Bryden, Jaimie Johnston MBE and Martin Wood. Available to purchase at RIBA Books here.