Job-to-be-done – Growth

Smart Structuring Methode Job-to-be-done
Category Growth
Short overview Clayton Christensen (Hall, Dillon, Duncan) brings a customer-centric view of products and services in her comprehensive book “Competing Against Luck”. The customer purchases a product or service to get a particular job done. This job is detached from the classic target group models or usage personas. It can occur completely independent of demographic criteria and can then be understood as a need by a wide variety of target persons. The customer “hired” a product or service analogous to a company that hires an employee for a certain task. Accordingly, applicant and advertiser come together when job description and skill profile/expertise match perfectly.
Developed by Clayton Christensen, Taddy Hall, Karen Dillon, David S. Duncan
Online Reference
Book Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice
Video Professor Clayton Christensen spoke at the 2017 National Summit on Education Reform on Thursday [51:46]
Key words Growth, target groups, insights, customer, Persona, Job-to-be-done
Insights The methodology puts the “job” of a customer at the centre. For this job he “hired” a problem solution. Especially with innovative problem solutions, the user may find it difficult or even impossible to describe how the solution could look like. Therefore, observation instead of questioning is an elementary component.

Christensen and his co-authors describe a job as progress that a person tries to make under certain circumstances. The progress is made towards a goal or a request. It is thus more than just a problem for which a solution is sought.

The circumstances define the context of the job. Circumstances can be related to a stage in life, family status, financial status, work environment, housing situation or many other things. In order to understand the progress a person wants to make, it is necessary to analyse the circumstances in which the person wants to make that progress.

Finally, Christensen emphasizes that it is not only the functional, practical side that needs to be considered. The social and emotional dimension is also relevant. When it comes to a job-to-be-done, the social and emotional dimension can influence the customer’s decision whether to “hired” a particular product or service much more.

The procedure based on specific questions to identify the job-to-be-done

  • What progress does a person want to achieve? Which functional, social and emotional dimensions play a role? For example, I want a clean apartment – especially the tiles are often dirty from the shoes
  • What are the circumstances? Who, when, where, during what… For example, in the hallway, during wet periods of transition and in winter, this occurs more often.
  • What barriers arise when a person wants to make progress? E.g. The user has little time, is possibly strongly involved in everyday work and leisure activities. Do customers today use alternatives, “work-arounds”, to achieve progress? Example: The classic bucket and mop including cleaning agent, a lot of bending – a strenuous job
  • How would customers define a better solution? What sacrifices would they make? E.g. Same clean result, with less effort and time saving. Ready to invest money up to amount X.
Best usage for… Expansion of the problem-solving space, strong user/customer view, the task (the “job-to-be-done”) in the centre
Weak result when… Target group focus or strong product/service fixation
Template A series of method sheets or templates are also available for this method. or (good structure)
Needed time span Experience shows that it takes 2+ rounds to communicate the underlying idea and enrich it with observations
Type of presentation
  1. Process picture of progress, circumstances, barriers, unsatisfactory status quo and solutions
  2. Observations, customer statements (job-to-be-done related)
  3. Report, Summary
Size of group /

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