When Coffee and Kale Compete

When Coffee and Kale Compete

Author
Alan Klement
Year
2015
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Review

Jobs To Be Done (JTBD) is a promising framework, but there is disagreement on how to apply it within the product community. If this disagreement is not resolved, the longevity of this theory may be in question. Personally, I have read three books on JTBD and I'm uncertain if I have gained any substantial benefit from them.

Klement points out two mistakes he believes other JTBD authors and influencers have made.

The first is that JTBD shouldn’t be confused with activities. Instead they should be framed around helping customers level up their lives. I agree, I think this is the most helpful altitude with which to think about JTBD.

The second reason is that we don't need to worry about creating categories of jobs such as emotional, functional, or social. I agree with this as well since they are difficult to classify and there is no benefit in doing so.

Despite the disagreements, there is a clear common thread among all JTBD practitioners: focusing on customers and what they are trying to achieve. By learning more about their aspirations and how they view possible solutions, we can de-emphasise our obsession with features and products, enabling us to come up with new ways to innovate.

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Key Takeaways

The 20% that gave me 80% of the value.

  • You’ll get better at creating and selling products if you focus on…
    • The desire every customer has to improve themselves and their life situation
    • How customers imagine their lives being better when they have the right solution
  • Creative destruction is accelerating, and new innovations are disrupting and replacing incumbent products faster than ever. Although solutions and technologies come and go, people always want to improve their lives. So, that's why we should focus our innovation efforts on Jobs to be Done (JTBD).
  • We often overlook how customers perceive competition. You must gain the customer's perspective on what is and isn't considered competition for a JTBD.
  • Instead of focusing only on current customer needs and expectations, we should create new systems to help customers make progress.
    • Just because a customer uses a product, it doesn't necessarily mean it meets a customer's needs.
    • To build tomorrow's products, we can't limit ourselves to the needs and expectations of today's products.
    • When established companies add bloat to products, chasing only visible figures they become more vulnerable to new innovate products entering the market.
  • Customer Jobs theory can help you understand why customers buy and use products.
  • Customer Jobs can help promote alignment and distributed decision making by ensuring a shared understanding of how to effectively serve customers.
  • The Customer Jobs framework is valuable for innovation as it focuses on understanding how customers want to evolve, without prescribing the type of product to create.
  • People are always looking for ways to improve their lives, products enable customers to get a job done, and help them transform.
In the factory, we make cosmetics. In the drugstore, we sell hope. Charles Revson, founder of Revlon
  • There’s a difference between what customers buy, and why they buy it.
  • A Job to be Done is the process a consumer goes through when they want to change their current life situation to a preferred one but face constraints that prevent them from doing so.
  • Customers are always dissatisfied, even when they report being happy. Even when they don't yet know it, they want something better.
  • Mistakes and distortions people have made to JTBD theory:
    • Don't confuse a JTBD as an activity or a task. Retrieving music is a task; it describes how a product is used.
    • There are no different types of jobs. Differentiating jobs into emotional, functional, or social categories is unnecessary and unproductive since there is no objective way to classify them, and you don't gain anything by doing so.
  • A Job to be Done describes the 'better version of the customer' and answers the questions:
    • How have you improved since you started using [product]?
    • Now that you have this product, what can you do now that you couldn't do before?
  • Continually improving the products of today isn’t enough. Think about what new product or service could help customers more?
  • Customers don't want your product or its features. They want help making themselves better.
  • People not products have JTBD. It’s the people who want to improve.
  • Competition is defined in the minds of the customer, and is based on the criteria of making progress. Customer’s don’t restrict their definition competition by functionality or form.
  • When customers find a solution for a Job to be Done (JTBD), they no longer seek other alternatives.
  • When customers use a product for a purpose it wasn't originally intended for, it indicates an opportunity for innovation.
  • Design your product to promote progress.
  • Progress defines value, and contrast reveals value. You understand the value a customer places on a product when you compare the progress it delivers vs others.
  • Think of producers, consumers, solutions and Jobs as part of a system that works together to evolve markets.
  • Ask customers about what they’ve done, not just what they say they want.
  • Use customer interviews to understand:
    • What’s the job the customer is hiring you to do? What progress are they seeking?
    • How customers have searched for solutions.
    • What the customer considers competition.
    • What they do and don’t value in a solution.
Questions to ask
  • What other solutions did you consider before trying the product?
  • What other solutions have you actually used?
  • If the product wasn’t available to you, what would you have done instead?
  • What solutions have the people you know tried or used?
  • Can you tell me about the other solutions you’ve tried?
  • What did or didn’t you like about each one?
  • What do you see as competition to x?
  • What would you spend your money on if you didn’t purchase x?
  • Have you set aside budget for using x or solving the JTBD?
  • If you could no longer use x, what would you use instead?
  • How have you tried to solve the problem in the past?
  • What do the various solutions have in common?
  • What is different about them?
  • What did or didn’t the customers like about each solution?
  • What would customers do if they couldn’t use their existing solution for their JTBD?
  • What would the consequences be?
  • How are they expecting life to be better once they have the right solution for a JTBD?
  • Extract pain points and customer language.
  • Ask what’s common about the solutions customers have tried? It might point toward the JTBD.
  • Choose your copy and position your product to differentiate your product from what your customers perceive your competition to be.
  • Stop spying on customers and start talking to them.
  • To adopt your solution, what will customers stop using? Will they save any money by doing so?
  • It's motivating to present a team with a problem in the form of a customer JTBD.
  • Understand the customer's struggle and try to discover what they value: Find out the stakes. What are the consequences if they don't solve the JTBD? How will their life be different if they do solve it?
  • Don’t depend on demographics. The customers’ situation (not characteristics) determine why they buy.
  • Work out if a customer is switching because they’re unhappy, or because their definition of progress has changed.
  • The four emotional forces that customers experience and shape customer demand.
  • Demand Generation
    • Push
      • Internal: An internal change or decision results in a desire to change.
      • External: An external change triggers a desire to change.
    • Pull
      • Idea of a better life: People imagine a better life, doing things they couldn't do before.
      • Solution preference: The pull for self-improvement triggers a search for a solution. However, preferences for one solution over another are influenced by the type of push.
  • Demand Reduction
    • Anxiety
      • Choice: When we don't know if the product can help us get a job done.
      • Use: When there are downsides to using the solution.
    • Inertia
      • Choice: Habits at the moment of decision that prevent a customer from switching.
      • Use: Customers switch back to older, well-formed habits.
  • The push and pull forces need to work together to have a strong effect on demand generation.
  • To find pushes, ask customers about the solutions they have used and when they realised those solutions were no longer working. Understand the context of their lives during that time.
  • To find pulls, ask about their opinions on other products they considered. Find out why they chose product X over product Y and what shortcomings they found in product Y. Identify the unique features of product X that attracted them.
  • Fight anxiety and generate pull by helping customers visualise the progress they will make by using your product.
  • Reduce anxiety-in-choice with trials, refunds, and discounts.
  • Start with a JTBD, not a solution.
  • Keep your mind open to the fact that competition can come from anywhere. There are often many product categories, compensatory behaviours, or mixtures of products that are viable alternatives. Don't restrict competition to products with similar functionality or characteristics.
  • Talk to customers, ask them what they've tried, what they see as their options, and find out if they have combined solutions.
  • You can confirm competition exists between two products by finding customers who've switched.
  • Some problems will persist because they're not worth solving.
  • Customer Jobs doesn't try to sell a plug-in-and-play plan for success. It requires critical thinking and hard work. It restricts itself to:
    • What customers are struggling with
    • How they imagine their life being better when they have the right solution
    • What they do and don't value in a solution.
  • Start by uncovering a potential customers’ struggling moment. When you do your discovery start wide and get progressively narrow.
  • Innovation opportunities arise when customers show compensatory behaviours, including edge cases of product usage. Look for examples of customers who use a product in novel ways, combine products into solutions, or create their own solutions for a JTBD.
  • A struggling and inconvenienced are different. Struggling customers will be putting in a lot of energy to find a solution.
  • Align your marketing copy to a customers’ struggling moment.
  • Unlock innovation by asking what comes afterwards. After they use your product, what next? Do they have new challenges?
  • A system is defined by interdependence - the connectedness of component parts.
  • The System of Progress
    • The customer → imagines a better life situation → searches for and chooses a solution → uses the solution against the struggle → realises a new life situation.
  • As a producer, you should try to find out... How did customer behaviour change? Why are customers currently looking for and purchasing a solution?
  • The system is continuous. Improvement in one part of life has effects elsewhere. When customers evolve, more aspirations arise.The system can continue outward in a helix-like structure.
  • Grow your business by helping customers solve a JTBD and unlock new aspirations and help solve them too.
  • Find opportunities by looking forward (what comes next?) and backward (what came before?)
  • Two characteristics of systems that make products vulnerable to creative destruction are fragile interdependencies and cascade effects.
  • Fragile interdependencies increase the chance of cascade effects and creative disruption.
  • Cascade effects occur when one change in a system causes another change and triggers more changes still. The magnitude and speed of cascade effects tend to be non-linear.
  • Core tenets:
    1. All customers want to make progress within the systems they belong to.
    2. Customers, producers, innovators, and products are all parts of a system.
    3. Understanding the system comes from studying the interdependence between parts.
    4. Each system is complex and requires one-of-a-kind solutions.
  • If you want to change what customers want, you need to convince them of the right job.Paint a picture of the improved life they haven't imagined yet.
  • The JTBD is the big picture. It is why customers buy your product.
  • JTBD has two important attributes:
    • Universally useful to different disciplines in your company, so it drives alignment.
    • A sensible altitude, which provides both freedom and guardrails to innovation.
  • When thinking about how to frame your JTBD, remember it should…
    • Help alignment and collaboration in your team.
    • Describe a better me for your customer.
    • Be product agnostic.
  • Understand the customers' current life situation: what pushes and pulls customers toward your product.
    • What do they want their better life to look like?
    • What is required for your product to be chosen?
  • Try using the push and the pull to describe a JTBD…
    • Push (struggle, job) → Solution → Pull (how life is better).
    • For example, Free me from the stress I deal with when figuring out what products won't harm my children… So I can have more time to enjoy being a parent.
    • For alternatives, try reversing it or putting it into the third person if it helps.
  • Test your JTBD by seeing if it also describes the solution it replaces. If it doesn't, it's not tight enough.
  • Two Different Interpretations of JTBD
    • Jobs-As-Activities focuses on the activities and tasks that customers want to accomplish.
      • Antony Ulwick describes a Job to be Done as a task, goal, or problem that a person is trying to accomplish or resolve. It can be functional, emotional, or associated with product consumption.
      • The author disagrees with a this approach
  • Jobs-As-Progress focuses on resolving discrepancies in a consumer's life situation and achieving progress.
    • The concept of Jobs as Progress was first introduced in the Jobs to be Done Handbook (Spiek & Moesta, 2014). But that focuses on an interview method and does not delve into Customer Jobs theory.
    • Clayton Christensen mentions them in Competing Against Luck. He replaces the idea that customers want “outcomes” with customers want “progress”, the ‘Jobs-As-Progress’ model.
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Deep Summary

Longer form notes, typically condensed, reworded and de-duplicated.

Full Summary

Chapter 1: Challenges, Hope and Progress

  • You’ll get better at creating and selling products if you focus on…
    • The desire every customer has to improve themselves and their life situation
    • How customers imagine their lives being better when they have the right solution
  • Creative destruction is accelerating, and new innovations are disrupting and replacing incumbent products faster than ever.
    • Although solutions and technologies come and go, people always want to improve their lives. So, that's why we should focus our innovation efforts on Jobs to be Done (JTBD).
  • Kodak's management missed the opportunity to embrace digital cameras, leading to their downfall. Their unwillingness to adapt to a changing world and their attachment to a legacy business model hindered their ability to create innovative products.
  • People vary greatly, but they generally hire and use products to get a specific job done.
  • We often overlook how customers perceive competition. You must gain the customer's perspective on what is and isn't considered competition for a JTBD.
  • Instead of focusing only on current customer needs and expectations, we should create new systems to help customers make progress.
    • Just because a customer uses a product, it doesn't necessarily mean it meets a customer's needs.
    • To build tomorrow's products, we can't limit ourselves to the needs and expectations of today's products.
    • Focus on what customers always desire: progress.
  • Customer Jobs thinking helps understand the relationships around data and assign proper weight to figures, improving decision-making for product improvement or development.
    • Data and figures are proxies for system results:
      • All models are wrong, but some are useful
      • the most important figures are unknown and unknowable.
      • If you torture data long enough, they will tell you whatever you want
      • Myth: if you can’t measure it you can’t manage it
    • Growth for every product will eventually slow and stop, and making changes to attract more customers can often make the product worse for existing customers.
    • When established companies add bloat to products, chasing only visible figures they become more vulnerable to new innovate products entering the market.
  • Customer Jobs theory can help you understand why customers buy and use products.
    • Customer Jobs theory is unique because it centers around the customers' desire for self-improvement, rather than focusing on:
      • What customers say they want
      • Their demographics
      • Or what they do
  • Customer Jobs can help you make progress by…
    • Promote alignment and distributed decision making by ensuring a shared understanding of how to effectively serve customers.
    • Helps you figure out which data is important and which isn't, and helps with making decisions. For example, it can help you choose your target market, connect with customers, position your product, and create better customer experiences.
    • Creates a sustainable growth culture by increasing the longevity of a product, and understanding when to focus on creating products and services that cater to new and existing customers.
  • The Customer Jobs framework is valuable for innovation as it focuses on understanding how customers want to evolve, without prescribing the type of product to create.

Part 1: JTBD Theory

Chapter 2: What is a Job to be Done(JTBD)?

Upgrade your user, not your product. Don't build better cameras—build better photographers. Kathey Sierra
  • Humans have an innate desire to transform their life-situations for the better. This drive for improvement is what sets us apart from animals and is deeply ingrained in our DNA. We constantly seek purposeful transformation and strive to enhance various aspects of our lives in different ways.
In the factory, we make cosmetics. In the drugstore, we sell hope. Charles Revson, founder of Revlon
  • Revlon doesn’t sell products, it sells ‘personal transformation’.
  • There’s a difference between what customers buy, and why they buy it.
  • A Job to be Done is the process a consumer goes through when they want to change their current life situation to a preferred one but face constraints that prevent them from doing so.
  • People are always looking for ways to improve their lives, products enable customers to get a job done, and help them transform.
  • Customers are always dissatisfied, even when they report being happy. Even when they don't yet know it, they want something better.
  • Mistakes and distortions people have made to JTBD theory:
    • Don't confuse a JTBD as an activity or a task. Retrieving music is a task; it describes how a product is used. If you can visualise a customer performing it, it's likely an activity or task rather than a job.
    • There are no different types of jobs. Differentiating jobs into emotional, functional, or social categories is unnecessary and unproductive since there is no objective way to classify them, and you don't gain anything by doing so.
  • A Job to be Done describes the 'better me' and answers the questions:
    • How have you improved since you started using [product]?
    • Now that you have this product, what can you do now that you couldn't do before?
  • A Job should describe a better version of the customer.
  • Historical influencers and their contributions to JTBD theory:
    • Creative Destruction: New innovations displace incumbent ones. Customers use only one solution at a time for a JTBD. Competition can come from anywhere. (by Joseph Schumpeter)
    • System of Profound Knowledge: Study of interdependence and interactions. The customer and producer must work together as a system. Understanding customer motivation through synthesis. Innovation should never stop. Special case vs normal variation. Correlation is not causation. (System of Profound Knowledge by L.Ackoff and Deming)
    • Anxieties of choice and action (Loewenstein)
    • Customers fall back on their habits (Ann Grabbiel)
    • Cumulative Prospect Theory: Preference is context dependent. Customers overvalue losses and undervalue gains. Customers have a limit on what they value. (Tversky, Kahneman)
    • Naturalistic decision making: Mental simulation of making progress with a product. (Gary Klein)
    • Customers have a 'job' they want 'done'. Customers don't want help making their lives better. Customers want progress. (Palmer, Pedi, Moesta, Murtaugh, Wesson and the JTBD community)
  • Continually improving the products of today isn’t enough. Think about what new product or service could help customers more?
  • If you want to make a great product you need to understand the emotional forces that shape a customers motivation.

Chapter 3: What are the Principles of Customer Jobs?

  • Customers don't want your product or its features. They want help making themselves better.
  • People not products have JTBD. It’s the people who want to improve.
  • Competition is defined in the minds of the customer, and is based on the criteria of making progress. Customer’s don’t restrict their definition competition by functionality or form.
  • When customers find a solution for a Job to be Done (JTBD), they no longer seek other alternatives. The competition for a JTBD is zero-sum, as only one product is needed to fulfill it.
  • When customers use a product for a purpose it wasn't originally intended for, it indicates an opportunity for innovation.
  • Design your product to promote progress, not just outcomes and goals. Measure and improve customer progress at every touchpoint. Successful businesses enhance customers' lives.
  • Progress defines value, and contrast reveals value. You understand the value a customer places on a product when you compare the progress it delivers vs others.
  • Solutions for jobs can deliver value beyond the moment of use (e.g. through piece of mind).
  • Think of producers, consumers, solutions and Jobs as part of a system that works together to evolve markets.

Part 2: Demand and Competition

Practical Advise from Case Studies:

  • Ask customers about what they’ve done, not just what they say they want.
  • Use customer interviews to understand:
    • What is the job the customer is hiring you to do. What progress are they seeking
    • How a customers have searched for a solution.
    • What the customer considers competition.
    • What they do and don’t value in a solution.
  • Questions to ask:
    • What other solutions did you consider before trying the product?
    • What other solutions have you actually used?
    • If the product wasn’t available to you, what would you have done instead?
    • What solutions have the people you know tried or used?
    • Can you tell me about the other solutions you’ve tried?
    • What did or didn’t you like about each one?
    • What do you see as competition to x?
    • What would you spend your money on if you didn’t purchase x?
    • Have you set aside budget for using x or solving the JTBD?
    • If you could no longer use x, what would you use instead?
    • How have you tried to solve the problem in the past?
    • What do the various solutions have in common?
    • What is different about them?
    • What did or didn’t the customers like about each solution?
    • What would customers do if they couldn’t use their existing solution for their JTBD?
    • What would the consequences be?
    • How are they expecting life to be better once they have the right solution for a JTBD?
  • Extract pain points and customer language.
  • Ask what’s common about the solutions customers have tried? It might point toward the JTBD.
  • Differentiate your positioning and copy from what your customers' perceive your competition to be.
  • Stop spying on customers and start talking to them.
  • To adopt your solution, what will customers stop using? Will they save any money by doing so?
  • It's motivating to present a team with a problem in the form of a customer JTBD.
  • Understand the customer's struggle and try to discover what they value:
    • Find out the stakes. What are the consequences if they don't solve the JTBD? How will their life be different if they do solve it?
  • Make sure features help customers toward their JTBD.
  • Determine if anxiety is a competitor (e.g. for choosing or using a product). If so, reduce it.
  • Be suspicious of the "impulse purchase". Talk to customers about how they came across your product.
  • Don’t depend on demographics. The customers’ situation (not characteristics) determine why they buy
  • Work out if a customer is switching because they’re unhappy, or because their definition of progress has changed.
  • You can write better marketing copy if you can speak to what customers value.
  • Get as many of your team involved in your JTBD research as you can. It can help create consensus around what to solve for, and will increase the chances of your early designs working.

Chapter 7: The Forces of Progress

  • The four emotional forces that customers experience and shape customer demand.
  • Demand Generation
    • Push
      • Internal: An internal change or decision results in a desire to change.
      • External: An external change triggers a desire to change.
    • Pull
      • Idea of a better life: People imagine a better life, doing things they couldn't do before.
      • Solution preference: The pull for self-improvement triggers a search for a solution. However, preferences for one solution over another are influenced by the type of push.
  • Demand Reduction
    • Anxiety
      • Choice: When we don't know if the product can help us get a job done.
      • Use: When there are downsides to using the solution.
    • Inertia
      • Choice: Habits at the moment of decision that prevent a customer from switching.
      • Use: Customers switch back to older, well-formed habits.
  • The push and pull forces need to work together to have a strong effect on demand generation.
  • If your product doesn't help people make progress, the price doesn't matter.
  • Innovation is about helping customers make progress towards the better version of life they aspire to.
  • To find pushes, ask customers about the solutions they have used and when they realized those solutions were no longer working. Understand the context of their lives during that time.
  • To find pulls, ask about their opinions on other products they considered. Find out why they chose product X over product Y and what shortcomings they found in product Y. Identify the unique features of product X that attracted them.
  • Fight anxiety and generate pull by helping customers visualize the progress they will make by using your product.
  • Reduce anxiety-in-choice with trials, refunds, and discounts.

Chapter 8: When You Define Competition Wrong

  • Start with a JTBD, not a solution.
  • Keep your mind open to the fact that competition can come from anywhere. There are often many product categories, compensatory behaviors, or mixtures of products that are viable alternatives. Don't restrict competition to products with similar functionality or characteristics.
  • Talk to customers, ask them what they've tried, what they see as their options, and find out if they have combined solutions.
  • JTBD rejects the idea of non-consumption; if a person has a JTBD, they must be using something for it.
  • The common narrative is that PCs disrupted mainframes. But they weren't in competition. PCs were competing with typewriters, calculators, file cabinets, etc. So why the mistake?
    • You can confirm competition exists between two products by finding customers who've switched.
  • Don't create your own definition of a market. If you don't know what customers are going to give up to adopt your solution, you haven't done enough research.
  • Some problems will persist because they're not worth solving.
No business plan survives first contact with customers. Steve Blank
  • Customer Jobs doesn't try to sell a plug-in-and-play plan for success. It requires critical thinking and hard work. It restricts itself to:
    • What customers are struggling with
    • How they imagine their life being better when they have the right solution
    • What they do and don't value in a solution.

Part 3: They System of Progress

Practical Advise from Case Studies

  • Start by uncovering a potential customers’ struggling moment. When you do your discovery start wide and get progressively narrow.
  • Innovation opportunities arise when customers show compensatory behaviors, including edge cases of product usage. Look for examples of customers who use a product in novel ways, combine products into solutions, or create their own solutions for a JTBD.
  • A struggling and inconvenienced are different. Struggling customers will be putting in a lot of energy to find a solution.
  • Align your marketing copy to a customers’ struggling moment.
  • You can deliver progress toward a customer JTBD by offering a set of products together.
  • When you design a product for an outcome, customers leave when the outcome is realised. Instead focus on improving the lives of your customer.
  • Unlock innovation by asking what comes afterwards. After they use your product, what next? Do they have new challenges?

Chapter 12: The System of Progress

  • A system is defined by interdependence - the connectedness of component parts.
  • The system of progress can help us understand the dependencies between customers, their JTBD, and the producer.
  • The System of Progress
    • The customer → imagines a better life situation → searches for and chooses a solution → uses the solution against the struggle → realizes a new life situation.
  • As a producer, you should try to find out... How did customer behavior change? Why are customers currently looking for and purchasing a solution?
  • How do customers discover and select a solution to fulfill their needs?
  • What were their criteria for selecting a solution?
  • What compromises are they willing to make?
  • Did they attempt any alternatives? Why were the other solutions unsuccessful?
    • What changed for the customer? Why are customers searching for and buying a solution now?
    • How do customers find and choose (hire) a solution for their desire?
    • What were their hiring criteria?
    • What trade-offs are they willing to make?
    • Did they try anything? Why didn't the other solutions work?
  • The system is continuous. Improvement in one part of life has effects elsewhere. When customers evolve, more aspirations arise.
    • The system can continue outward in a helix-like structure.
  • Grow your business by helping customers solve a JTBD and unlock new aspirations and help solve them too.
  • Deliver a combination of products that work together to forward the system of progress.
  • Find opportunities by looking forward (what comes next?) and backward (what came before?)

Chapter 13: Innovation and the System of Progress

  • Customers don't understand the system. Customers don't rate budget airlines highly, but continue to use them. So, should we listen to what they say or do?
    • Customers only know what the system tells them. Any customer research is a snapshot of how they're interacting with the current system.
    • The bad experience on budget airlines is what enables the low prices. They are connected.
    • Abandon the idea that customers have a list of needs. Instead, focus on helping them make progress.
  • All systems change. Some quickly, some slowly. A disruption in the system can block the customer from making progress.
  • Two characteristics of systems that make products vulnerable to creative destruction are fragile interdependencies and cascade effects.
  • Fragile interdependencies increase the chance of cascade effects and creative disruption.
  • Some interdependencies are robust, some are fragile.
  • Cascade effects occur when one change in a system causes another change and triggers more changes still. The magnitude and speed of cascade effects tend to be non-linear.
    • Smartphones created a cascade effect that affected how customers made progress across many different systems.
  • JTBD empowers us to innovate in different ways:
    • Continual improvement of a product
    • Replace a product that costs more with one that costs less
    • Help customers use an existing product better
    • Develop new products that help customers evolve themselves in ways they might not be aware of yet
  • Core tenets:
    1. All customers want to make progress within the systems they belong to.
    2. Customers, producers, innovators, and products are all parts of a system.
    3. Understanding the system comes from studying the interdependence between parts.
    4. Each system is complex and requires one-of-a-kind solutions.
  • If you want to change what customers want, you need to convince them of the right job.
    • Paint a picture of the improved life they haven't imagined yet.
  • Consider bundling or unbundling products to better suit a given system of progress. A product that tries to solve too many jobs ends up not being able to solve any job well enough.

Chapter 14: How Might We Describe a Job to be Done?

  • The JTBD is the big picture. It is why customers buy your product.
  • JTBD has two important attributes:
    • Universally useful to different disciplines in your company, so it drives alignment.
    • Set at a sensible altitude, which provides both freedom and guardrails to innovation.
  • When thinking about how to frame your JTBD, remember it should…
    • Help alignment and collaboration in your team.
    • Describe a better me for your customer.
    • Be product agnostic.
  • Understand the customers' current life situation: what pushes and pulls customers toward your product.
    • What do they want their better life to look like?
    • What is required for your product to be chosen?
  • Try using the push and the pull to describe a JTBD…
    • Push (struggle, job) → Solution → Pull (how life is better).
    • For example, Free me from the stress I deal with when figuring out what products won't harm my children… So I can have more time to enjoy being a parent.
    • For alternatives, try reversing it or putting it into the third person if it helps.
  • Test your JTBD by seeing if it also describes the solution it replaces. If it doesn't, it's not tight enough.

Two Different Interpretations of JTBD

  • Jobs to be Done has gained popularity but has different interpretations.
  • Jobs-As-Progress and Jobs-As-Activities are two main interpretations that are incompatible with each other.
  • The hierarchy of goals distinguishes between Be goals and Do goals.
  • Jobs-As-Progress focuses on resolving discrepancies in a consumer's life situation and achieving progress.
    • The concept of Jobs as Progress was first introduced in the Jobs to be Done Handbook (Spiek & Moesta, 2014). But that focuses on an interview method and does not delve into Customer Jobs theory.
    • Clayton Christensen mentions them in Competing Against Luck. He replaces the idea that customers want “outcomes” with customers want “progress”, the ‘Jobs-As-Progress’ model.
    • Jobs-As-Progress draws from many sources  the most important (humans as goal-directed organisms that self-regulate discrepancies via feedback loops) stems from people such as Norbert Wiener (1961), Herbert Simon (1996), Albert Bandura (1997), Charles S. Carver (2001), and William Powers (1972).
  • Jobs-As-Activities focuses on the activities and tasks that customers want to accomplish.
    • Antony Ulwick describes a Job to be Done as a task, goal, or problem that a person is trying to accomplish or resolve.
      • It can be functional, emotional, or associated with product consumption.
      • JTBD can be described using a Job Map, which consists of eight fundamental process steps: define, locate, prepare, confirm, execute, monitor, modify, and conclude.
      • Ulwick's Jobs-As-Activities approach suggests that customers want to perform these activities, with emotional and social considerations being secondary to the core functional job.
      • The core functional job serves as the anchor for defining other needs, including emotional, related, and consumption chain jobs.
    • Ulwick's Jobs-As-Activities model differs only slightly from HCI, Activity Centred Design, Goal-Directed Design, Cognitive Tasks analysis, and Use Cases by incorporating a business strategy layer.
    • Ulwick proposes that businesses should prioritise creating technologies that assist consumers in effectively performing tasks and activities