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Jobs to Be Done Framework: Help Customers Get Their Jobs Done

by Naveen Agarwal
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The Jobs to be Done framework is a powerful, customer-centric way to innovate and improve your products. It provides a framework for categorizing, defining, capturing, and organizing all your customer’s needs. The success of many products in the market has been driven by their ability to help customers get their jobs done better or cheaper than other options. In this blog post we will discuss the Jobs to be done framework from different perspectives: examining product successes and failures, learning about what drives innovation at companies like Proctor & Gamble and Apple Inc., looking at some specific examples of how jobs-to-be-done thinking can help innovators think differently about problems they are trying to solve for customers.

What is the Jobs to be Done Framework?

The jobs to be done framework is assisting customers in getting a job done better and/or more cheaply. It describes what the customer is trying to get done, not what they are doing.

Examining Product Successes and Failures

When looking into product success and failures we observe the same phenomenon: new products and services win in the marketplace when they help customers get a job done better and/or more cheaply.

This is consistent with Clayton Christensen’s theory of disruptive innovation, which states that companies can sustainably grow their revenues by innovating to create “new” markets for groups of consumers currently not well served by existing products and services.

What Drives Innovation at Companies like Procter & Gamble

Procter & Gamble, and others apply this thinking to their innovation processes

Procter and gamble looks into specific jobs that customers are hiring a product for when they innovate or improve an existing product line. They believe that if you can understand what a product does, then you can help customers get that job done better or cheaper.

These companies have found success in using jobs-to-be-done thinking to guide their innovation efforts by focusing on the following questions:

Specific Examples

Examples of how jobs-to-be-done thinking can help innovators think differently about problems they are trying to solve for customers:

  • The Levis Strauss & Co. “whiskey” boot – where the company saw an opportunity among rural cowboys who were using their empty whiskey bottles as makeshift boots. They created a product (Levi’s boots) to make it easier for customers to do this job.
  • The “Guitar Hero” video game – where the company was trying to innovate in the music industry with a new way of learning how to play an instrument. They saw that their customer’s primary job-to-be-done wasn’t playing guitar, but instead having fun with their friends. They were able to capitalize on this insight, and create a new product that would help people get the job done better or cheaper than buying an actual guitar
  • The “Ario” scale – where scales are typically used for measuring weight loss, not gaining it. The company took advantage of insights from interviews they conducted which revealed that customers wanted to gain weight in a healthy way so they could look good when attending social events. They were able to develop an innovative new product that helped customers accomplish their “job-to-be-done.”

In conclusion,

The Jobs to Be Done Framework helps innovators think differently about problems they are trying to solve for customers. In the article, we examined product successes and failures from companies like Procter & Gamble that have been able to innovate their way into new markets because of jobs-to-be-done thinking. If you want more information on how this can work in your company or if you want advice on how to apply it, click the link below to learn more: strategyn.com/jobs-to-be-done/

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