Proposition Development Map

The development of a proposition can be done in many ways. Therefore, it can be difficult to see how all the different activities connect in order to develop a people-centered proposition. We have developed a map to give an overview of proposition development activities and the relations between these activities. We have designed the map on basis of our experiences in proposition development. You are invited to use it freely. If you have feedback or questions, please reach out to us.  

How it works? 

On a normal map of for example a country you can see cities and roads. It gives you an overview of different cities you can visit and the different routes you can take. However, the map doesn’t tell you which cities to visit and which routes to take. For this, a guide may advise you, taking your preferences into account and accompany you on the road.  

The Proposition Development Map works the same as a normal map: It gives you an overview of the different activities and different routes you can take in order to develop a proposition. Based on your preferences and needs, we can advise you which route to take and accompany you along the way.  

In terms of Music Thinking, the Proposition Development Map is focused on the EMPATHY cue: The people-centered cue to see with the eyes of your customer, empathize with them and search for insights that matter to them. This means that it gives an overview of activities to generate people-centered insights. The Proposition Development Map also gives an overview of how these people-centered activities are linked to activities that bridge the gap between customer insights and execution. The map stops at this bridging point, which means that it excludes the follow-up activities towards realization (e.g. from prototype to product development and go-to-market activities like campaigns).  

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Key elements in the map 

To give you an idea, we give a brief description for each of the elements of the Proposition Development Map below.  

Ecosystem/stakeholder map 

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Having an overview and understanding the playing field is essential. Therefore, ecosystem/stakeholder mapping is a good starting point. The goal is to know and understand the players with the most influence (on the design challenge). 

Quick profiles

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Quick profiles are meant to make sketches of customers that help us to develop a customer journey. The goal of a quick profile is to make a ‘shitty first draft’ (version 0.1) of a sketch profile which we can improve later on (iterate, validate, iterate). In follow-up sessions we can do customer journey mapping (as is) in order to visualize the customer journey from the perspective of one (or multiple) profiles.  

The main difference between quick profiles and the customer profiles from the Value Proposition Canvas, is that the quick profiles are mainly focused on behavior. Highlighting the behavior is essential if you want to use them for customer journey mapping, since you will use this to make an assumption about which steps a profile will take. 

Keep in mind that quick profiles are assumption based. Therefore, you will always have to validate, research and improve until you have personas. 

Value Proposition Canvas

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If you are in a hurry you may use the Value Proposition Canvas to make quick sketches of customers and the value proposition you offer them. You may use the Value Proposition Canvas to capture your own assumptions or to quickly capture insights from frontline staff.  

Qualitative research

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Design research is an instrument to grasp a deeper understanding of consumers (or other user groups like employees). There are many ways and methods to do this. One of the most used qualitative research methods is probably doing interviews. 

Quantitative research

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The combination of quantitative research with qualitative research generates the best insights, as the qualitative data strengthen the understanding of the numbers and the other way around. Quantitative research is about analyzing data you gathered about your customers. This could be for example data you obtained from their behavior online or data you obtained through questionnaires. 

The importance of (qualitative and quantitative) research is that is helps to create an understanding from the user’s perspective versus the designer’s own perspective. 



Quantitative data can be used to divide your customers into groups and to see how many customers you have in each group. These customer segments can be used to define and choose target groups. 

Segmentation usually leads to dividing your customers in different groups based on demographics, whereas quick profiles/reality personas are focused on behavior. Therefore, it may happen that you find attributes of different customer segments in one quick profile/reality persona. 

Segmentation comes into play when the proposition development reaches the stage of go-to-market action.  

Reality personas

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The qualitative and the quantitative research on customers or users can be used to create personas. Personas are a decision-making instrument to guide and direct discussions, since personas reflect persons that make the abstract world tangible. We often see that personas are used throughout a company – they become like friends. Employees remember their background stories, including their different expectations and behavior patterns.  

Customer journey mapping 

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Mapping customer journeys can help to identify ‘Areas of Opportunity’ where you can improve your service and/or product. Customer journey mapping is done in a co-creative workshop where you invite participants who have solid knowledge about the experience you are mapping (e.g. real customers and frontline employees).  

Before you can start with Customer Journey Mapping, you need personas (or at least have Quick Profiles), since you will be mapping the customer journey of the persona (or quick profile).  

Customer journey operations

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Customer journey operations is a customer-centric management approach for agile organizations. In customer journey map operations, you link all the customer journey maps with each other and build a hierarchy of maps such that you can zoom into details. Connect data and insight to the journeys allows you to make decisions about better customer experience on an operation, tactical and strategic level.

Service blueprint

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The service design blueprint brings the customer(s) and the organization together. Where customer journey mapping is focused on ‘as is’ journey mapping, a service blueprint is usually showing customer journeys ‘to be’. Furthermore, a service blueprint includes how the organization wants to realize this customer journey ‘to be’. Therefore, service blueprinting is linked with the Music Thinking cue AGILITY: The cue to decide how to work together in which constellations and when to do what.

Design challenge

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During the customer journey mapping you will identify ‘Areas of Opportunity’. These will be used to formulate one or more design challenges. The design challenges are always formulated as How Might We (HMW) questions. The power of ‘how might we’ in comparison to for example ‘how can we’ is that it opens the creative space up. By using the word ‘can’, many people are tempted to think in terms of limitations and will probably say: “We can’t do that because…”. The word ‘might’ does not immediately trigger the question whether we can or cannot do something, but it allows us to think in terms of possibilities. 



After the design challenge is clear, you can use it to ideate and come up with many ideas. There is a wild variety of ideation techniques and ways to do this (e.g. brainwriting, 10 plus 10, bodystorming). 

Idea validation

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After you generated many ideas, you do idea validation. This is usually done by plotting the ideas with use of the impact for the persona(s) and the time and effort required to realize the idea. Here you will also combine ideas or ideate a bit further in order to maximize the impact for the persona(s) and/or to decrease the time and effort required to realize the most promising ideas. 

Service scenario

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For the best ideas from the idea validation you may make service scenarios to develop the ideas to concepts. The service scenarios focus on defining the customer experience that will enable the business goals. Service scenarios are a quick and engaging format to help the organization to explore the idea of operating in new ways. 



For the best ideas from the idea validation you may build prototypes. These can be low-fidelity prototypes (e.g. sketches, paper prototypes, Lego© Serious Play© models) or high-fidelity prototypes (e.g. experience demonstrator, clickable models). Here you usually iterate from a ‘shitty first draft’ (i.e. low-fidelity) to a fully working (i.e. high-fidelity) prototype. 

Qualitative research

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You use your service scenarios and prototypes to validate your ideas with customers. This output from these sessions will not only be used to validate your ideas and to improve them but will also be used to improve and iterate on your personas. 

Business model generation

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For the best ideas from the idea validation you may do business model generation. This is like ideation with the Business Model Canvas, which means that you will generate multiple business models for each idea. 

Business model

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After the business model generation, you select and extract your findings and put this in a business model. Here you bring some things together like the customer segments and the partners you need to realize your business model. Also, here you do the calculations in order to check how your business model makes sense. There is no business model without an excel sheet behind it!

Communication proposition

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The communication proposition is your value proposition translated to customers. Here you communicate how your offering addresses your customer’s pains and gains. The communication proposition contains the requirements and direction required for the realization of the product. The communication proposition is written from the brand. This links to the Music Thinking cue PERSONALITY: The cue to work from the heart of your organization; from your why and brand values to the holding space you provide for your stakeholders. 

Authors: Wolter Buma, Roy Scheerder, Christof Zürn, Xenia Zürn

Did you like this map and are you interested in strategy development as well? We also developed a Strategy Development Map.