Listen to the Interview
I have a returning guest, Tony Ulwick, who is sharing 6 tools from his new book, Jobs to Be Done: Theory to Practice.
Tony is well known for the creation of Outcome Driven Innovation and as the founder of Strategyn. When ODI was published in the Harvard Business Review, they declared it one of “the ideas that will profoundly affect business as we forge ahead in today’s complex times.”
From the discussion, product managers and innovators will know how to apply Jobs to Be Done by applying 6 steps:
- Define the customer’s “job-to-be-done”
- Uncover the customer’s needs
- Quantify the degree to which each outcome is underserved
- Discover hidden segments of opportunity
- Align existing products with market opportunities
- Conceptualize new products to address unmet needs
Practices and Ideas for Product Managers and Innovators
Summary of some questions discussed:
- JTBD is often attributed to Clayton Christensen. What is the history and what was your involvement? When Christensen published Innovators Dilemma in 1997, I thought ODI might be a solution to the innovator’s dilemma. I met with Christensen several times and introduced him to the idea that people have underlying processes that they are trying to execute and if we focus on the process instead of the customer or the product, we’ll have a much greater chance of having predictable success in innovation. In 2002 during a conversation he shared, “This concept that people have underlying processes, it’s just a hard story to tell. If we say they have jobs they’re trying to get done; that flows a lot nicer.” It did and it does and he wrote about it in his book, The Innovator’s Solution in 2003. Over time, the concept became known as jobs to be done theory and that’s how the name stuck. ODI is the implementation of the theory.
- Why do companies fail at innovation? When we look at the root cause analysis we can always point to the same four issues. I think about innovation as the process of coming up with solutions that address unmet customer needs. So at that high level, it’s pretty simple what we’re trying to accomplish. Now, in order to make that happen, we have to know what a need is, we have to know what the needs are, we have to know which needs are unmet, and we have to be able to discover segments of customers with different unmet needs. Companies fail at innovation because they can’t address those four key elements.
- Can you summarize the steps for applying jobs to be done theory? There are six steps, which are shown in the infographic below (and explained in the interview with Tony)
“The theory of disruptive innovation does not tell you where to look for new opportunities. It doesn’t predict or explain how specifically a company should innovate to undermine the established leaders or where to create markets. It doesn’t tell you how to avoid the frustration of hit and miss innovation, leaving your fate to luck. It doesn’t tell you how to create products and services that customers will want to buy and predict which new products will succeed, but the theory of jobs to be done does.”– Clayton Christensen
Thank you for being an Everyday Innovator and learning with me from the successes and failures of product innovators, managers, and developers. If you enjoyed the discussion, help out a fellow product manager by sharing it using the social media buttons you see below.