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March 5

Six Value MEdals

The framework provides a simple tool for systematically considering different perspectives when investigating value. For creative thinking activities, this can be used in two ways:

  1. At the beginning, to help frame your problem correctly by focusing on areas of greatest value
  2. After ideation, to help select ideas on the basis of their potential value

Gold Medal (personal values)

Gold is valued by people, bringing with it a range of human and emotional values. There are a number of ways of exploring the impact of an idea on people including stakeholder analysis (who is affected, how and which are good or bad impacts), Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs (how does this idea affect us physically, and what are the effects on our feelings of security, belonging, and esteem).

For business ideas, we might look at the value proposition to customers paying particular attention to the needs the idea satisfies. Notice that organizational value such as the impact on suppliers can be seen with the silver medal.

Silver Medal (organisational values)

Steel is used to signify strength or robustness. This value perspective is used to consider aspects of quality like physical robustness, durability, fitness for purpose, and competitive strength. Depending on the idea being evaluated, it may be useful to differentiate between ‘customers’ and the different features they are likely to value. What is ‘high quality’ for one, may be of limited importance to another.

Other aspects of quality can include ease of use, interoperability with other products, ease of disposal or choice of materials. Features, components, and attributes which demonstrate quality will be different depending on the idea.  The basic concept for the steel medal is ‘is it any good?’

Glass Medal (innovation values)

The glass is an amazing material, strongly associated with its ability to scatter light and shape our vision. The Glass medal is about innovation, creativity, and simplicity. When using the glass medal perspective we consider value with questions like ‘what has changed’, ‘what is new’, and ‘what else could this do’.

With definitions of innovation frequently including both novelty and value, this important medal ensures we recognize the value of novelty and creativity in our ideas. When used with the other medals, we are able to gain a strong understanding not only of what is new, but how that newness adds value to the product, to the organization and to the people who will use it.

Wood Medal (ecology medal)

Studies of the environment involve more than simply saving trees. The purpose of the ecology or environmental value medal is to consider the impact of an idea on its context and surroundings. That includes the people who interact with it, the organisations it touches, and the footprints it leaves behind itself after it has gone. When considering this perspective, we are encouraged to take a step back and examine the big picture.

Looking a bit further we might ask what the impact is of not using this idea, or what will happen to those who use something else.

Brass Medal (perception medal)

What will the neighbors think? The brass medal is all about perception and appearance. Based on the idea that brass is shiny but isn’t gold, we are guided towards value judgments by others such as ‘how will the market receive this’ or ‘what will marketing think about this’.

Perception is an important consideration and one that might warrant additional thought when deciding how to shape perception in order to encourage idea adoption. Perception is all about our human tendency to form patterns and to use our past experiences to flavor our expectations for the future. You can read more on de Bono’s view of perception


Saurabh Shukla


Hyderabad, Karnataka India + Google Map