Creating innovative products in the modern era is not easy. With so many competitors, can seem tough to come up with new ideas that are truly different from what already exists. But there are ways to innovate more successfully when you use the Jobs-to-be-Done framework. This blog post will show you how using this framework can help you create better solutions for your customers and grow your business.
History of Jobs-to-be-Done
The Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) framework was created by Clayton Christensen and his team at Harvard Business School. It is based on the premise that people buy products and services to get a particular job done. The team first developed the concept by studying why customers bought morning milkshakes. They found that people chose their morning milkshake because it would help them stay awake and keep them entertained on their morning commutes to work or to give their child a sweet after-school treat.
They then realized that these needs were not specific to any demographic and were not satiated by other products that would normally be seen as competitors, such as a Snickers bar or a banana. They were instead grouped together by a group that needed a job to be done and that that group hired the milkshake to do that job.
Applying JTBD to Innovation
Had a store selling milkshakes asked customers if they would like bigger milkshakes or ones of different flavors, their answers may be “yes”. This would have led them to create bigger products or feature flavors. Had they thought about their competition as other food vendors, they might have implemented feature enhancements. In both cases, they would find out that neither of these things would compel people to buy more milkshakes because they were product-first approaches that assumed what the customer wanted. In this case, the competition was not another food vendor, but rather something that would entertain a child, like stopping at the toy store on the way home from school.
For product teams, this framework can be used to uncover latent needs that might not otherwise be found. This is because this innovation process is based on the customer’s motivations and not developing a product to sell. For example, if a company wanted to create new car-related products or services for mom’s that drop off kids at school in their minivan before going to work, someone who was using JTBD would talk with customers about how this process works today and why it might be tough for some moms.
Some potential solutions that could be generated from this conversation might include a carpooling service for kids, or a drop-off/pickup service at the school so that the mom doesn’t have to leave her car there all day. In both cases, it’s not about developing a product and then trying to find customers who need it. It’s about not only identifying the customer need, but also what would make this process easier and more enjoyable for them to do on a daily basis.
Examples of JTBD in Action
One of the best examples of the JTBD theory in action is Zoom. What Zoom did was create a video conferencing service for businesses built around what the customer was trying to do. Instead of forcing customers to use their software in a way that wasn’t natural, they designed it so users could perform tasks like powering on or off easily and scheduling calls without having to learn how Zoom worked first.
Another example is Uber’s rideshare service. Uber didn’t invent the concept of ridesharing, but they did make it easier for people to get a ride when they needed one. They did this by making it easy to use their app and by having drivers nearby when you need them. Both Zoom and Uber were successful because they identified the job that needed to be done and then made the experience easy and enjoyable for the customer.
A third example would be Venmo, which was created to quickly and efficiently pay others for goods or services. As fewer people used cash, the job that many consumers needed to get done was paying others. For example, instead of needing to split a tab at a restaurant, friends can just Venmo each other the money they owe.
These are three great examples of how to use Jobs-To-Be-Done in innovation and product development. It is important to note that these solutions were not created by asking customers what they wanted or needed, but instead by focusing on why people hired a solution like this one. Then, they made it easy for the customer to use their product or service in the way that was most natural for them.
The JTBD framework is designed to help create products that solve problems rather than provide features or functions of existing solutions (e.g., bigger milkshakes). This provides companies a way to innovate by understanding a customer’s problems and creating solutions that delight them.