Value Engineering
the long and the short of it

Alan Dix

Computational Foundry, Swansea University, Wales, UK

Unpublished Essay April 2020.

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You can brow-beat people into doing what you want, try to persuade them to go along with you, or subtly fool them. However, it is usually far better to accept that people have different drives, aspirations and motivations and then design systems and process that achieve organisational goals given the particular personal values that drive individual decisions. This is value engineering. Through a series of short case studies, this article outlines certain aspects of human behaviour that I have found valuable in both theoretical understanding and practical application. We will see that the basic principle of understanding people’s values can be applied at multiple levels from large-scale organisational processes to individual moment-by-moment decisions. We will also see that it is important to understand human values at different timescales, a fact noted by Rousseau in the 18th century and still pertinent in designing for climate change or pandemic today.




Alan Dix 30/10/2021