Deciding to engage a progress proposition

Service Engagement Decision

Understanding why and how a progress seeker decides to engage with a progress proposition – the engagement decision process – is critical to unlocking growth and innovation. Knowing the hurdles, for example, gives us a zone for innovation to reduce them.

Comfortingly, our engagement decision process builds on top of the progress decision process. It is still a two-phase process. The first phase is to decide to engage. Then there are continuous decisions to keep engaging. And these decisions are still based on progress seekers’ unique and phenenological determinations:

  1. of amounts of progress achieved and potential progress (which may be interpreted as value)
  2. that the “lack of seeker resources” hurdle is low enough

However, there are two differences:

  • engaging is a two-party decision, and so the progress helper may decide progress (value) is compromised and so cease engagement
  • there are five additional hurdles
Progress propositions introduce five additional hurdles to the engagement decision process (making six in total). Innovation should be applied to minimise these hurdles. Click To Tweet

Four of these additional hurdles relate to characteristics of the proposition – adoptability, resistance, mismatch on service-service continuum, and seeker’s confidence. The fifth additional hurdle is the more intellectually challenging. It has to do with price. However, in the progress economy, this is disconnected from value.

Let’s dig in with some detail.

Proposition engagement decision

Here, then, is the engagement decision process.

Service Engagement Decision
Progress Proposition Engagement Decision

We inherit the two decisions phases from our progress decision process:

  1. the decision to start engaging with a particular progress proposition in an attempt to make progress. 
  2. further decisions to carry on engaging with a particular progress proposition in the attempt to make further progress towards progress sought.

This process, like the one we’re building on, is closely similar to Rogers’ innovation adoption process. This is consistent with, and suggests why, our view in the progress economy that innovation is not an afterthought. Rather, it is the core operations.

OK, next we’ll look at these two phases in turn.

start decision

The progress seeker’s first decision is whether to start attempting to make progress or not with a specific progress proposition. And this boils down to two things. 

First, whether they believe they will be able to make sufficient progress with that proposition. That is, they phenomenologically see enough potential progress. Secondly, the progress seeker must feel the barriers to engaging are sufficiently low. We’ll describe these barriers in detail shortly. But here is a list of them:

  • Lack of seeker resource
  • Adoptability
  • Resistance
  • Mis-alignment on service-service continuum
  • Confidence in progress helper’s proposition
  • Gaining required service credits (rather too simplistically: price)]

What if a seeker decides not to engage with a specific proposition? Well, circumstances could change, leading them to later change their minds and decide to start engaging. Alternatively they may chose to engage another progress proposition. Or decide to do nothing for that particular progress sought.

Let’s say they’ve decided to start. Next they will make continuous decisions on whether the continue.

continue decisions

As the progress seeker attempts to make progress, they will regularly make choices to continue or abandon their attempt. There are no limitations on when progress seekers make these decisions. However, the natural decision points are at the end of each activity in the process of making progress.

As they make progress, the progress seeker must continuously decide whether to carry on or give up. The are no limitations on the timing of these decisions. Although the natural points are at the end of each activity in the process of making progress.

At each decision point, they uniquely and phenomenologically decide if:

  • there has been sufficient achieved progress – how far have they got
  • there is sufficient potential progress remaining – can they still get to their desired state (though this may, as we’ll see, evolve)
  • the hurdles to engaging continue to be sufficiently low

A positive determination sees the progress seeker continue their attempt of making progress until their next decision point.

Whereas a negative determination would see them abandon the attempt. This could be due to disenchantment discontinuance. Where they have decided not enough progress is being made and/or is likely to be made in the future. Or one or more of the hurdles has become too high.

Or, the seeker decides that attempt to make progress with a different progress proposition looks more advantageous. We call this replacement discontinuance.

Progress sought may evolve

As we saw in the progress decision process, the seeker has more information available to them at the end of each activity. This comes both as a result of carrying out the activity as well as arising from external sources during the activity duration.

This new information can lead to a progress seeker evolving their view of progress sought. And so their determination of progress – achieved and potential – as well as the six hurdles to engagement. As a result, the outcome of their decision may be affected.

Progress proposition owner may terminate the service

In our underlying service-dominant logic there is the following foundational premise:

Value is uniquely and phenomenologically determined by the beneficiary

service-dominant logic foundational premise #6

Which makes sense when understanding that the creators were trying to move the marketing narrative on from value-in-exchange (where manufacturers determine value and indicate that through price). 

However, in the progress economy we see value as an emergent property. One that emerges when progress seekers evaluate progress achieved and potential progress. It is a subjective measure of progress.

Since progress is a joint endeavour, it is natural that the progress helper also forms a subjective view of progress. And if they see progress is being hampered by the seeker (mis-use of resource, for example, which is one case of value co-destruction) then they could cease engagement.

So, for the progress economy, we must update our view to say:

the amount of progress (of which value is a subjective measure) is overwhelmingly and phenomenologically determined by each progress seeker individually. 

however, progress helpers do also judge progress, although this is often less visible.

if either party sees the other party hindering progress (value co-destruction) they may decide to attempt to fix the destruction or ultimately cease engaging in the attempt to make further progress

Now I think we’re ready to jump into looking at the six hurdles to engagement.

The six hurdles to progress

There are six hurdles to progress when a progress proposition is involved. And a seeker needs to uniquely and phenomenologically determine they are sufficiently low enough for them to start, and continue, engaging.

lack of resourceis there a lack of resource in either party that will hinder progress
adoptabilitycan the progress seeker readily see themselves using the proposition
resistancewill the progress seeker postpone, reject, or worse, oppose the proposition
misalignmenthow far apart, on the service continuum, are the proposition and the seeker’s wishes
confidencedoes seeker trust proposition and/or helper
effort elsewherehow many service credits does a progress seeker need to get from elsewhere to engage proposition

We inherit the first hurdle from the progress decision process. Where we saw that lack of progress seeker resources is a hurdle to making progress.

Engagement Decision tool
Compare the progress decision and engagement decision processes

And, of course, the point of a progress proposition is to supplement the resources of the progress seeker. The intention being to minimise this first hurdle. However, in offering a particular service mix and proposing a series of activities, we introduce four new hurdles.

These new hurdles are adoptability of, resistance to, and confidence in the service mix and proposed activities. As well as mismatch of the proposition on the service-service continuum

Finally, the sixth hurdle relates to how we see price in the progress economy. Since we remove value-in-exchange thinking, price is no longer attached to value.

It’s important to note that as progress is made, the progress seeker’s perspective on these obstacles may change. Either in a positive or negative sense. That’s why the evaluation of them is part of the continuous decisions.

We’ll look into the details of the six hurdles here.

Wrapping Up

So to conclude, the seeker’s decision around engaging a proposition is a unique and phenomenological one. Comfortingly the engagement decision process builds on the progress decision process. It has the same two phases: to start and to continue making progress. And is based upon their determination of progress and the height of hurdles to engagement.

Engagement Decision tool
Engagement Decision tool

We visualise it as a balance between judgements of progress and the hurdles, since a seeker may accept a higher hurdle for better progress.

The difference is that we find 5 additional hurdles. And that the progress helper also judges amounts of progress made. Though that is less visible, and usually is only used by them if the observe value co-destruction occurring. That is to say, for example, that the seeker is misusing offered resources.

Knowing the engagement decision process is a key input into actionable innovation. We should innovate to minimise the hurdles.

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