Know Your Customers

Know Your Customers’ “Jobs to Be Done”: Is innovation inherently a hit-or-miss endeavor? Not if you understand why customers make the choices they do.

HBR September 2016, p54

By Clayton M. Christensen, Taddy Hall, Karen Dillon, and David S. Duncan

Innovation is not happening at most companies, according to the authors, and they think they know why: People use products to perform jobs they want done. Sounds earth-shattering, doesn’t it? The authors seem to believe quite deeply in their premise since, as they say in their conclusion, if you do not adopt their approach “You are doomed to hit-or-miss innovation.” This is an excerpt from a forthcoming book and I do hope that there is more relevant and supportive information presented in the book.

The whole “jobs to be done” premise sounds very much like Design Thinking which comes from the Illinois Institute of Design as well as other places and has a significant body of knowledge that extends far beyond what is presented in the article. If you need to discover your customer’s jobs to be done then Design Thinking might be a productive place to start your search for ways to do that. If this type of inquiry is new to you then you may find this article worthwhile.