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The Innovator's Toolkit: 50+ Techniques for Predictable and Sustainable Organic Growth, 2nd Edition by Neil DeCarlo, Philip Samuel, David Silverstein

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Technique 1

Jobs to be Done

Highlight the human need you're trying to fulfill.

 

A job to be done (JTBD) is a revolutionary concept that guides you toward innovation and helps you move beyond the norm of only improving current solutions. A JTBD is not a product, service, or a specific solution; it's the higher purpose for which customers buy products, services, and solutions.

For instance, most people would say they buy a lawnmower to “cut the grass,” and this is true. But if a lawnmower company examines the higher purpose of cutting the grass, say, “keep the grass low and beautiful at all times,” then it might forgo some efforts to make better lawnmowers in lieu of developing a genetically engineered grass seed that never needs to be cut.

This is the power of the JTBD concept and technique: It helps the innovator understand that customers don't buy products and services; they hire various solutions at various times to get a wide array of jobs done. You may need light survey design and sampling help from a statistician to apply this technique, but for the most part, it requires no expert assistance.

Background

Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen and coauthors articulated the JTBD concept in a Sloan Management Review article (Spring 2007) as follows: “Most companies segment their markets by customer demographics or product characteristics and differentiate their offerings by adding features and functions. But the consumer has a different view of the marketplace. ...

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