ValueD : a model of cognitive value determination in design

Reber, M. and Duffy, A. H. B. and Hay, L. and Whitfield, R. I. (2021) ValueD : a model of cognitive value determination in design. Journal of Engineering Design, 32 (9). pp. 449-477. ISSN 1466-1837 (

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In spite of the increasing importance placed on the creation and delivery of value, it is unclear what value is and how it is determined in design. In this paper, the first descriptive model of value determination (ValueD) is presented to clarify the key elements and mechanisms involved. ValueD describes value determination as a cognitive process that is situated and dependent on an agent's knowledge. The variables involved are: an entity interpreted by an agent; a situation of an agent; knowledge of an agent; a criteria prioritisation activity; a criteria selection activity; and a criteria judgement activity. The output of the value determination process is a value statement. Value is shown to refer to a judgement on the extent an interpreted entity satisfies an agent's criteria. The ValueD model is evaluated through comparison against seven axioms of value and a protocol analysis of an engineering design episode. The article concludes with a discussion of strengths, limitations, and future work on ValueD, and its relationship with key value concepts such as added value, exchange and perceived value, benefit, and need.