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An Intro to
Jobs-To-Be-Done
A Theory of the Market
“The customer rarely buys what the business thinks it sells him.
One reason for this is, of course, that nobody pays for a ‘product.’
What is paid for is satisfaction. But nobody can make or supply
satisfaction as such—at best, only the means to attaining them
can be sold and delivered.” 1 — Peter Drucker
Why JTBD?
Quantity
Price
Supply
Demand • What is the nature of demand and supply?
• How do people:
 Assess value?
 Determine substitutes and alternatives?
 Decide what solutions to buy and use?
“People don't want quarter-inch drills. They want quarter-inch holes.” 2 — Theodore Levitt
Case Study: Transportation Solution
vs.Toyota Prius Prime
Plug-in hybrid powertrain
25 miles EV range
4 seats
MPG: 54, MPGe: 133
68% of Americans commute 15 miles or less to work (one way). – U.S. Department of Transportation
Honda Civic
• ICE powertrain
• 5 seats
• MPG: 32/42
Chevy Volt
• Plug-in hybrid powertrain
• 53 miles EV range
• 5 seats
• MPG: 42, MPGe: 106
Chevy Bolt
• Electric powertrain
• 238 miles EV range
• 5 seats
• MPGe: 119
vs.
If you were a Toyota Product Manager…?
Demographics
Middle-aged man
2 or fewer children
Lives in the suburbs
Psychographics
Cares for the environment.
Perceives Japanese cars as
having better quality.
Needs (?)
(Can you provide an example of
commonly accepted need definitions?
At your company, do marketing,
product, engineering, etc. agree on
what is a customer need?)
Circumstances
I commute less than 25 miles to work.
I can charge a car at work.
+
Relevant demo/psychographics
+
My previous transportation solution
was having age-related defects.
Progress / Desired Outcomes
Practical: Transport myself to work.
Emotional: Set an example of green living.
Solution performance relative to a new Honda:
Reduce the time spent dealing with malfunctions.
Reduce the cost of maintenance.
Obviously, price is a factor in any purchase decision but a discussion of price is outside the scope of this introduction.
Sample
Insights
Art Sciencevs.
Do-s and don’t-s, best practices and
frameworks tell you, in broad strokes,
what to do and may be effective only
in specific circumstances.
A theory developed from first principles
teaches you how to understand the world
in all circumstances.
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day;
teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” — proverb
Correlation Causationvs.
Demographics
Psychographics
Needs (?)
“One of the first things taught in introductory statistics textbooks is that correlation is not causation.
It is also one of the first things forgotten.” 3 ― Thomas Sowell
“A theory is a statement of causality.” 4 ― Clayton Christensen
Circumstances
Progress/
Desired Outcomes
Trial & Error
Algorithmic
Problem Solving
vs.
“With a theory to predict what will cause what to happen,
breakthrough innovations do not require getting lucky.” 5
― Clayton Christensen
Demographics
Psychographics
Needs (?)
Circumstances
Progress/
Desired Outcomes
Designing a better solution?
Marketing your solution?
Which data helps you?
History & Application
Field: Market Research
Ulwick
(early 1990’s)
2016 2016 2016
(self-published
e-book)
Bettencourt
2010
Christensen
(early 2000’s)
2016
2005
Wunker Klement
Moesta
(mid-late 1990’s)
Research
Method
&
School of
Thought
Outcome Driven
Innovation (ODI)
Switch
Internally Consistent?
Empirically Validated?
Generalizable?
Theory: Jobs-To-Be-Done










?


n/a
n/a
WARNING: Terminology is not standardized across these schools of thought.
Berstell
(late 1980’s)
Customer Case Research
Field: Innovation Strategy
Christensen
2005
2003
1997
W. Chan Kim
Theory of
the Market
&
School of
Thought
Jobs-To-Be-Done n/a
Generalizable?
Theory: Disruptive Innovation
 
WARNING: Terminology is not standardized across these schools of thought.
Jobs-To-Be-Done
Disruptive Innovation
Solution Design
(e.g. applying Design Thinking, UX Design)
Business Model Design
(e.g. applying Lean Startup and
Business Model Canvas)
Deliver Product/Market Fit
Reduce risk in new product innovation.
Jobs-To-Be-Done
Acquisition
Adoption
CX / UX
Retention
Improve Product/Market Fit
Increase value through existing product innovation.
Improve
Intro to the Theory
What Is a Job?
This is just a preview. Important concepts have been omitted for simplicity and brevity.
Circumstances
An infinite-dimensional topology.
You are here.
Everything and everyone else
is a point in this space.
“Circumstances: the existing conditions or state
of affairs surrounding and affecting an agent.”
— dictionary.com
Change
Some
circumstances
don’t change.
Some
circumstances
change.
State
Desirable
Undesirable
In any timeframe…
Zone of
indifference
Life
A trajectory in the space of circumstances.
Recurring
circumstances
You’re not alone…
But, not everyone’s there
at the same time.
Common
circumstances
Fate
No decision = No action = Inertial change
(i.e. subject to chance and the laws of physics)
Aspiration
Inertial
change
Controlled change towards
desired circumstances
People try to make progress in life—they try to
change their circumstances for the better.
Decision required: What is “better”?
Inertial
change
Solve problems inherent in the circumstances
(change some circumstances from undesirable to desirable states)
Achieve goals afforded by the circumstances
(change some circumstances to more desirable states)
Prevent the occurrence of problems
inherent in the circumstances
(prevent the change of some circumstances to
undesirable states)
Progress
Change of circumstances for the better.
Inertial
change
Progress /
Desired Outcomes
* “Is trying to make” should be understood as “desires to make” and not as “is struggling to make”.
Job
“The progress that a person is trying to make*
in a particular circumstance.” 6
— Clayton Christensen
The Job
Circumstances
The Job
“A job is always a process to make progress,
it’s rarely a discrete event.” 7 — Clayton Christensen
Select solution(s)
Vertices = Decision points
Edges = Process steps = Smaller jobs
To traverse the edges, you must do
one or more of the following:
 Collect and analyze information
 Take physical action
 Use a product/service
Three categories of solutions:
 Decisions
 Physical actions
 Products or services
Inertial
change
Solutions
Things that you can use to change the
course of your life for the better.
Progress … by all means necessary.
Is the glass half full or
half empty?
Supply
Demand
We can begin to answer…
• What is the nature of demand and supply?
• How do people:
 Assess value?
 Determine substitutes and alternatives?
 Decide what solutions to buy and use?
Demand:
• Is a job that must be done.
• Is created by people in specific circumstances.
Supply/Substitutes:
Any combination of decisions, physical
actions, products and/or services that gets the
demanded job done.
Market:
• The people that have a specific job.
• Size = number of occurrences for the job.
• Everything else equal, a solution that gets the
job done better is more valuable and more
demanded.
Intro to the Practice
Research Methods
Switch Outcome Driven Innovation (ODI)
Studies the selection of solutions to achieve
one or more outcomes and focuses on
discovering the whole job (i.e. all practical
and emotional outcomes in specific
circumstances).
Excels at discovering circumstances, the
competitive solution set and emotional
outcomes.
For the solution performance outcomes, it
discovers mainly those that matter when
switching solutions (at the time of the
research).
Studies the process of achieving one practical outcome
across a wide range of circumstances. The circumstances
may be open-ended or may be limited by using a contextual
common denominator. Discovers some related outcomes.
For the studied practical outcome:
• Discovers the process of achieving it.
• Discovers all poorly satisfied solution performance
outcomes.
• Discovers contextual segments roughly equivalent to a job
and quantifies:
 Prevalence
 Importance of and satisfaction with achieving the
solution performance outcomes
 Willingness-to-pay to achieve complete satisfaction.
• Can discover process steps and solution performance
outcomes for which the job holders believe there are no
product or service solutions.
Switch Outcome Driven Innovation (ODI)
Qualitative research using primarily in-
depth interviews. Works well in an agile
environment.
Qualitative research using primarily in-depth interviews and
small focus groups (2, 3 people) followed by quantitative
research using a survey instrument.
Lengthier and more expensive mostly due to the quantitative
phase.
Better for:
• Understanding the job and the
competitive landscapes. Informs
innovation strategy and business model
design.
• Improving solution adoption.
• Jobs that are one-time or infrequent, are
focused on emotional outcomes, and/or
have multiple important outcomes.
Better for:
• Understanding the process of achieving a specific outcome
and the requirements for a solution. Informs solution
design.
• Improving the customer experience.
• Jobs that occur frequently and/or focus on one major
practical outcome.
Once you understand the theory and the research methods, you should:
• Mix and match elements of Switch and ODI.
• Use any available quantitative and qualitative data source and tool.
For example, one may use:
o Ethnographic observation to discover the job
o Transactional data to quantify job findings.
Maximize Insights
Adapt the research method to the business problem.
Get Started
Study + Practice
Tips: Existing Product Innovation
Job
Your product helps here.
Parent Job
For the purpose of these tips, the Parent Job must be a
job that could be done on the same platform as the Job.
Tips: Existing Product Innovation
Business Objective Study Practice (Research Objective &
Target Job Holders)
A. Get the Job done better than
the competition.
Switch 1. Understand the Job and
identify the Parent Job
Existing customers
2. Understand both the Job
and the Parent Job
Lost customers
B. Get as much as possible of
the Parent Job done on the
same platform as the Job.
Get it done better than the
competition.
Switch
and ODI
1. Understand the Parent Job Lost prospects
2. Understand the process to
get the Parent Job done
Existing and lost
customers; lost
prospects
Done? You are probably ready to graduate to new product innovation.
Tips: New Product Innovation
Are out of scope for this introduction.
Are you an entrepreneur / intrapreneur?
Do you need to start directly with new product innovation?
Get professional JTBD help.
Tips: JTBD for UX
Apply to physical and digital products as well as services.
Do you have intel that a user interface is not working well or that you need a new user interface?
Use JTBD to understand the jobs
that the users are trying to get done.
In what circumstances do they need the interface?
What outcomes are they trying to achieve?
Identify the affordances that the
interface must provide.
What information must be available?
What functionality is needed?
Set-up realistic user testing. Who are the right users for the test?
What test scenarios would best simulate the job?
What artifacts are needed to simulate user circumstances?
Optimize the layout of the interface using classical usability testing.
References
1. Peter Drucker, Managing for results: economic tasks and risk-taking decisions (Harper & Row, 1964), 94
2. Theodore Levitt, The Marketing Imagination (The Free Press, 1986), 128
3. Thomas Sowell, The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy
(Basic Books, 1996), 54
4. Clayton Christensen in Dina Gerdeman, Clayton Christensen: The Theory of Jobs To Be Done
(HBS Working Knowledge, October 2016)
5. Clayton Christensen, et al., Competing Against Luck (HarperBusiness, October 2016), 90
6. Clayton Christensen, et al., Competing Against Luck (HarperBusiness, October 2016), 27
7. Clayton Christensen, et al., Competing Against Luck (HarperBusiness, October 2016), 28

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An Intro to Jobs-To-Be-Done

  • 1. An Intro to Jobs-To-Be-Done A Theory of the Market “The customer rarely buys what the business thinks it sells him. One reason for this is, of course, that nobody pays for a ‘product.’ What is paid for is satisfaction. But nobody can make or supply satisfaction as such—at best, only the means to attaining them can be sold and delivered.” 1 — Peter Drucker
  • 3. Quantity Price Supply Demand • What is the nature of demand and supply? • How do people:  Assess value?  Determine substitutes and alternatives?  Decide what solutions to buy and use? “People don't want quarter-inch drills. They want quarter-inch holes.” 2 — Theodore Levitt
  • 4. Case Study: Transportation Solution vs.Toyota Prius Prime Plug-in hybrid powertrain 25 miles EV range 4 seats MPG: 54, MPGe: 133 68% of Americans commute 15 miles or less to work (one way). – U.S. Department of Transportation Honda Civic • ICE powertrain • 5 seats • MPG: 32/42 Chevy Volt • Plug-in hybrid powertrain • 53 miles EV range • 5 seats • MPG: 42, MPGe: 106 Chevy Bolt • Electric powertrain • 238 miles EV range • 5 seats • MPGe: 119
  • 5. vs. If you were a Toyota Product Manager…? Demographics Middle-aged man 2 or fewer children Lives in the suburbs Psychographics Cares for the environment. Perceives Japanese cars as having better quality. Needs (?) (Can you provide an example of commonly accepted need definitions? At your company, do marketing, product, engineering, etc. agree on what is a customer need?) Circumstances I commute less than 25 miles to work. I can charge a car at work. + Relevant demo/psychographics + My previous transportation solution was having age-related defects. Progress / Desired Outcomes Practical: Transport myself to work. Emotional: Set an example of green living. Solution performance relative to a new Honda: Reduce the time spent dealing with malfunctions. Reduce the cost of maintenance. Obviously, price is a factor in any purchase decision but a discussion of price is outside the scope of this introduction. Sample Insights
  • 6. Art Sciencevs. Do-s and don’t-s, best practices and frameworks tell you, in broad strokes, what to do and may be effective only in specific circumstances. A theory developed from first principles teaches you how to understand the world in all circumstances. “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” — proverb
  • 7. Correlation Causationvs. Demographics Psychographics Needs (?) “One of the first things taught in introductory statistics textbooks is that correlation is not causation. It is also one of the first things forgotten.” 3 ― Thomas Sowell “A theory is a statement of causality.” 4 ― Clayton Christensen Circumstances Progress/ Desired Outcomes
  • 8. Trial & Error Algorithmic Problem Solving vs. “With a theory to predict what will cause what to happen, breakthrough innovations do not require getting lucky.” 5 ― Clayton Christensen Demographics Psychographics Needs (?) Circumstances Progress/ Desired Outcomes Designing a better solution? Marketing your solution? Which data helps you?
  • 10. Field: Market Research Ulwick (early 1990’s) 2016 2016 2016 (self-published e-book) Bettencourt 2010 Christensen (early 2000’s) 2016 2005 Wunker Klement Moesta (mid-late 1990’s) Research Method & School of Thought Outcome Driven Innovation (ODI) Switch Internally Consistent? Empirically Validated? Generalizable? Theory: Jobs-To-Be-Done           ?   n/a n/a WARNING: Terminology is not standardized across these schools of thought. Berstell (late 1980’s) Customer Case Research
  • 11. Field: Innovation Strategy Christensen 2005 2003 1997 W. Chan Kim Theory of the Market & School of Thought Jobs-To-Be-Done n/a Generalizable? Theory: Disruptive Innovation   WARNING: Terminology is not standardized across these schools of thought.
  • 12. Jobs-To-Be-Done Disruptive Innovation Solution Design (e.g. applying Design Thinking, UX Design) Business Model Design (e.g. applying Lean Startup and Business Model Canvas) Deliver Product/Market Fit Reduce risk in new product innovation.
  • 13. Jobs-To-Be-Done Acquisition Adoption CX / UX Retention Improve Product/Market Fit Increase value through existing product innovation. Improve
  • 14. Intro to the Theory What Is a Job? This is just a preview. Important concepts have been omitted for simplicity and brevity.
  • 15. Circumstances An infinite-dimensional topology. You are here. Everything and everyone else is a point in this space. “Circumstances: the existing conditions or state of affairs surrounding and affecting an agent.” — dictionary.com
  • 17. Life A trajectory in the space of circumstances. Recurring circumstances
  • 18. You’re not alone… But, not everyone’s there at the same time. Common circumstances
  • 19. Fate No decision = No action = Inertial change (i.e. subject to chance and the laws of physics) Aspiration Inertial change Controlled change towards desired circumstances People try to make progress in life—they try to change their circumstances for the better. Decision required: What is “better”?
  • 20. Inertial change Solve problems inherent in the circumstances (change some circumstances from undesirable to desirable states) Achieve goals afforded by the circumstances (change some circumstances to more desirable states) Prevent the occurrence of problems inherent in the circumstances (prevent the change of some circumstances to undesirable states) Progress Change of circumstances for the better.
  • 21. Inertial change Progress / Desired Outcomes * “Is trying to make” should be understood as “desires to make” and not as “is struggling to make”. Job “The progress that a person is trying to make* in a particular circumstance.” 6 — Clayton Christensen The Job Circumstances
  • 22. The Job “A job is always a process to make progress, it’s rarely a discrete event.” 7 — Clayton Christensen Select solution(s) Vertices = Decision points Edges = Process steps = Smaller jobs To traverse the edges, you must do one or more of the following:  Collect and analyze information  Take physical action  Use a product/service
  • 23. Three categories of solutions:  Decisions  Physical actions  Products or services Inertial change Solutions Things that you can use to change the course of your life for the better. Progress … by all means necessary. Is the glass half full or half empty?
  • 24. Supply Demand We can begin to answer… • What is the nature of demand and supply? • How do people:  Assess value?  Determine substitutes and alternatives?  Decide what solutions to buy and use? Demand: • Is a job that must be done. • Is created by people in specific circumstances. Supply/Substitutes: Any combination of decisions, physical actions, products and/or services that gets the demanded job done. Market: • The people that have a specific job. • Size = number of occurrences for the job. • Everything else equal, a solution that gets the job done better is more valuable and more demanded.
  • 25. Intro to the Practice Research Methods
  • 26. Switch Outcome Driven Innovation (ODI) Studies the selection of solutions to achieve one or more outcomes and focuses on discovering the whole job (i.e. all practical and emotional outcomes in specific circumstances). Excels at discovering circumstances, the competitive solution set and emotional outcomes. For the solution performance outcomes, it discovers mainly those that matter when switching solutions (at the time of the research). Studies the process of achieving one practical outcome across a wide range of circumstances. The circumstances may be open-ended or may be limited by using a contextual common denominator. Discovers some related outcomes. For the studied practical outcome: • Discovers the process of achieving it. • Discovers all poorly satisfied solution performance outcomes. • Discovers contextual segments roughly equivalent to a job and quantifies:  Prevalence  Importance of and satisfaction with achieving the solution performance outcomes  Willingness-to-pay to achieve complete satisfaction. • Can discover process steps and solution performance outcomes for which the job holders believe there are no product or service solutions.
  • 27. Switch Outcome Driven Innovation (ODI) Qualitative research using primarily in- depth interviews. Works well in an agile environment. Qualitative research using primarily in-depth interviews and small focus groups (2, 3 people) followed by quantitative research using a survey instrument. Lengthier and more expensive mostly due to the quantitative phase. Better for: • Understanding the job and the competitive landscapes. Informs innovation strategy and business model design. • Improving solution adoption. • Jobs that are one-time or infrequent, are focused on emotional outcomes, and/or have multiple important outcomes. Better for: • Understanding the process of achieving a specific outcome and the requirements for a solution. Informs solution design. • Improving the customer experience. • Jobs that occur frequently and/or focus on one major practical outcome.
  • 28. Once you understand the theory and the research methods, you should: • Mix and match elements of Switch and ODI. • Use any available quantitative and qualitative data source and tool. For example, one may use: o Ethnographic observation to discover the job o Transactional data to quantify job findings. Maximize Insights Adapt the research method to the business problem.
  • 30. Tips: Existing Product Innovation Job Your product helps here. Parent Job For the purpose of these tips, the Parent Job must be a job that could be done on the same platform as the Job.
  • 31. Tips: Existing Product Innovation Business Objective Study Practice (Research Objective & Target Job Holders) A. Get the Job done better than the competition. Switch 1. Understand the Job and identify the Parent Job Existing customers 2. Understand both the Job and the Parent Job Lost customers B. Get as much as possible of the Parent Job done on the same platform as the Job. Get it done better than the competition. Switch and ODI 1. Understand the Parent Job Lost prospects 2. Understand the process to get the Parent Job done Existing and lost customers; lost prospects Done? You are probably ready to graduate to new product innovation.
  • 32. Tips: New Product Innovation Are out of scope for this introduction. Are you an entrepreneur / intrapreneur? Do you need to start directly with new product innovation? Get professional JTBD help.
  • 33. Tips: JTBD for UX Apply to physical and digital products as well as services. Do you have intel that a user interface is not working well or that you need a new user interface? Use JTBD to understand the jobs that the users are trying to get done. In what circumstances do they need the interface? What outcomes are they trying to achieve? Identify the affordances that the interface must provide. What information must be available? What functionality is needed? Set-up realistic user testing. Who are the right users for the test? What test scenarios would best simulate the job? What artifacts are needed to simulate user circumstances? Optimize the layout of the interface using classical usability testing.
  • 34. References 1. Peter Drucker, Managing for results: economic tasks and risk-taking decisions (Harper & Row, 1964), 94 2. Theodore Levitt, The Marketing Imagination (The Free Press, 1986), 128 3. Thomas Sowell, The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy (Basic Books, 1996), 54 4. Clayton Christensen in Dina Gerdeman, Clayton Christensen: The Theory of Jobs To Be Done (HBS Working Knowledge, October 2016) 5. Clayton Christensen, et al., Competing Against Luck (HarperBusiness, October 2016), 90 6. Clayton Christensen, et al., Competing Against Luck (HarperBusiness, October 2016), 27 7. Clayton Christensen, et al., Competing Against Luck (HarperBusiness, October 2016), 28