How do you develop innovative products and services which truly resonate with your customers? In 2016, the American economist Clayton Christensen wrote an article in the Harvard Business Review titled “Know Your Customers’ ‘Jobs to be Done’,” which highlighted the importance of developing a deeper understanding of your target audience to drive innovation.
As part of his research, Christensen looked into how satisfied global executives were with their current innovation initiatives. A staggering 94% of them were dissatisfied with their company’s current innovation performance. While we have never known more about our customers than we do today (because of data), we have forgotten to focus on the jobs that customers actually want to get done when they purchase your product. One of the best ways to develop a deeper understanding of what matters to your customers is to use the Jobs to be Done tool.
What is the Jobs to be Done system, and what are best practices, tools and templates for teams and organizations to make use of it?
The Jobs to be Done tool is designed to help business leaders come up with new product ideas that can be evaluated for usefulness and viability. Understanding your customers’ Jobs to be Done helps determine what specific needs, pain points, or problems to focus on during the innovation process before you spend too much time creating a product that nobody wants or is willing to pay for.
The Jobs to be Done tool also gives executives a lens through which they can view their innovation initiatives. While it may sound obvious, people buy products and services because they want to get a “job” done, and the products that are successful are those which help the customer get a job done faster, more easily and less expensively.
Here are a few questions to consider when identifying customers’ Jobs to be Done:
- What are your customers’ processes?
- What outcome are they seeking to create or realize?
- What workarounds are they doing when the current process doesn’t meet their needs?
- What keeps them up at night?
- What are their primary complaints, wishes, and desires?
- How do they currently meet their needs, and what is working or not working for them?
I helped create the Jobs to be Done tool at Praxie, a platform for automating business processes by creating online tools and apps for driving innovation. You can access the tool freely as a download here. It’s simple to use and is based on best practices I’ve gathered in the 3 decades I’ve spent as a strategic business consultant. Praxie’s digital platform goes far beyond other software tools by including progress dashboards, data integration from existing documents or other SaaS software, elegant intuitive designs, and full access on any desktop or mobile device.
About the Author:
Soren Kaplan is the bestselling and award winning author of Leapfrogging and The Invisible Advantage, an Affiliate at the Center for Effective Organizations at USC’s Marshall School of Business, a columnist for Inc. Magazine, a globally recognized keynote speaker, and the Founder of Praxie. Business Insider and the Thinkers50 have named him one of the world’s top management thought leaders and consultants.