Value in Context

© malcolm ryder


We usually say that something “has” value or “is valuable” for a pretty straightforward reason: we expect (anticipate, believe) that the “something” will influence an increase of the probability of an intended outcome’s occurrence. Here, the “outcome” is usually “intended” in the sense that we accept it as needed, desired, or at least known to be possible and thereby targeted.

We do that without a sense of being very technical or formal about it.

Even though the very same explanation can be investigated or pursued in a very formal or technical way, in ordinary life, we most often just don’t need to .

But the ability to understand it logically is a means of discovering and predicting it, as well as producing it, more readily. As a result, we can demand better, recognize better, and provide better.

In discussing “demand for value”, Context preconditions Demand, and Demand preconditions Recognition of value.

The idea of Context should also usually be familiar and non-technical. We typically say that something is either “in [inside of]” context or “out of” context.

As described below, that is because Context is the set of circumstances containing identified influencing conditions WITH which a party recognizes a certain need or desire.

By that logic, the critical features of a particular context can be actual (in the present moment) or potential (plausibly true at any time). That is, we can understand it and foresee it before we get it.

We can model “context”. In doing that below, the following general description excludes consideration of any matters extraneous to the point of using the term “Context”.


Parties who will seek, request and evaluate offerings (from a provider) will do so because they desire something, need something, or both.

They may or may not analyze or assess what the factors are that generate their sense (Acknowledgement) of desire or need, and that furthermore “in effect” define their initial idea of what is wanted or needed (Deciding).

  • If they don’t analyze or assess the generative factors at the current moment of demand, it is likely because they either already have a strong sense of certainty about what will satisfy them, or they are not aware of any apparently relevant alternatives (they are already “Requiring”).
  • · If they do analyze or assess the factors at the current moment of demand, it is likely because they can recognize options (alternatives) — differences among multiple available relevant offerings that present enough stimulation to consciously consider and validate their own preferences and priorities (they are already “Shopping”).


In both of those cases, it is possible to ask WHY the party is seeking, why it is requesting, and why it evaluates the way that it does (“Profiling”).

  • Those questions can be asked by the party themselves or by another party such as a producer or provider.

Both parties can ask the same questions, and they may or may not compare their respective findings.

Differences in their findings can precipitate Learning or Experimentation, which can affect prioritization, can provoke negotiation, and can affect Acceptance or Rejection. That is, discovery of those answers can alter what the party eventually recognizes or requires compared to what the party had thought initially.

Discovery of those answers reveals “Conditions” that are the key Influencers of the requester’s desire or need.

Conditions can be ideas, emotions, and sensations — all of which are dimensions of experiencing one’s presence in a given state describable and referenced as circumstances.

  • Any given condition can vary in its current strength (“Affect”) as an influencer.
  • And multiple concurrent influencers may cause one another to respectively have more or less strength.
  • Finally, an “influence” may be a synergistic product of the co-existence of multiple conditions that separately may not be influential.

Circumstances contain influential conditions. We already knew that; now we know it better.


Conditions themselves are variable — which means that they may be changeable, in type and/or strength, by:

  • invention or cultivation
  • persuasion or intervention
  • and inhibition or removal

Forces that can change conditions can thereby change influence.

And parties may respond just as strongly to Proposed conditions as they do to Actual conditions.

Because of that, the commonality that matters is the Anticipation that is reflected by the party’s definition, requirements and request for something to satisfy their desire or need. Usually those are sufficient terms to “describe” any distinct demand.

Context typically involves distinguishing terms as well. They are easily associated with the answers from the “Why” questions about need or desire. That is, these terms are traceable to conditions discovered by those questions:

  • Purpose
  • Preference
  • Priority
  • Opportunity
  • Constraint

Those terms of context are going to point at the terms of demand that are in turn going to affect the sense of value held by a providing or requesting party.


From the above, what we see are relationships between circumstances of demand and the evaluation (of offerings) that comes from that demand.

From the relationships, Context takes shape as requirements, preferred priorities, and anticipation predisposing the recognition of potential value in available offerings.

We also see that the effective influence of context on recognizing value is something that can be intentionally modified even if the offering itself does not change.

Consequently, we understand that context is a variable factor of determining recognizable value when an offer is being made available.

The basic equation is IF probable context THEN possible value OF offering X.

© 2021 malcolm ryder / archestra research




Malcolm is a strategist, solution developer and knowledge management professional in both profit and non-profit companies across business, IT and the arts.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

A Product Manager’s notes on A/B testing


3 Things That Give 80/20 Results in Your First 90 Days as a Product Manager

Product Manager Interview Exposed

Case Study Analysis | Problem Solving | Product Managers

What a Product Manager Does: The Ultimate Guide to Product Management

Learn Product Lifecycle Management(PLM)

Working with hypotheses to boost your product development

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Malcolm Ryder

Malcolm Ryder

Malcolm is a strategist, solution developer and knowledge management professional in both profit and non-profit companies across business, IT and the arts.

More from Medium

Product Management and the Recruiting Process for MBAs

Negotiating scope with stakeholders

Experimental mindset, iterative by nature

5 reasons why canned plans won’t solve your transformation issues