The heritage of goal mapping stretches back to 1938 and the pioneering endeavours of Lawrence Miles in General Electric.  He took a step back from the ledgers of component costs, material costs and labour costs to explore how the greatest value could be delivered to the customer for minimum cost. As the graphic above shows, the new engineering discipline of Value Analysis became a standard approach to procurement across many industries in the USA, before spreading across the world.

At its heart, Value Analysis explores the functions that a product serves for its customer. These are systematically mapped from high order functions (e.g. a household vacuum clearer serves the function of ‘remove dirt from the floor’) to more specific, subordinate functions (e.g. a container to ‘collect dirt removed from the floor’). The resulting function-map can then be used as a basis for optimising the functionality delivered for the cost incurred.

In 2014, Goal Atlas realised that this heritage had value for far more than the procurement of boats, trains and airplanes. It’s key principles could be applied to business strategy and, in the process, help resolve some one of the hardest problems in business: how to align business strategy with

  1. the operational tactics needed to deliver that strategy;
  2. the key performance indicators guiding progress towards strategy achievement and
  3. the skills and knowledge needed for strategic success.
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