Saturday, December 25, 2021



Most of us have possibly heard the above phrase or a variant of this- "people don't just buy ice cream, but also celebration and bonding." These phrases covers the essence of "Jobs to be done" approach to building products.

To build on this, let me first share a story, the simplicity of which always amazes me.

Late Clayton Christensen (creator of disruptive innovation theory) once tried to improve the sales of McDonald milkshakes. He tried to make them sweeter, offered them in different tastes,& slightly increased the size of the cups. Nothing worked out, until his team started observing the customers. They found out that the job the customers hired the milkshake for was in fact to make their morning car ride to work less boring. The big benefit a milkshake has is that it is a thick drink that lasts longer than any other drink and stuffs the stomach. This was the real problem; the customers had no idea about it. In the end, Christensen and team came up with the solution to make the milkshake even thicker, which led to an increase in sales numbers.
(Hear it in Clayton's words here:

The traditional way of increasing milk shake sales might have required segmenting the customers, looking at the preferences of each and then arriving at a strategy that works. But Clayton looked at the problem from the lens of "Jobs to be done" framework.

Conceptually, what is the "Jobs to be done" framework and how does it work. Some insights below-

1. A job can be a problem to solve (e.g., “repair my car,” “make my morning ride less boring”) or a goal (e.g., “run a marathon,” “get into college”). 
2. When jobs arise, people are motivated to seek products, services, or experiences to “hire” to perform those jobs.
3. "Jobs to be done" approach provides a lens to define a business from the perspective of what’s at the heart of any company’s success: its ability to create value for customers. 
4. “Innovation can be far more predictable—and far more profitable—if you start by identifying the jobs that customers are struggling to get done”- Clayton Christensen

This framework, apparently is behind the success and turnaround of Twitter post 2015 onwards as is outlined in this HBR article (summary in my sketchnote)
Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey recently said-
“We intend to build an ecosystem of connected features and services focused on serving three core jobs: news, which is what’s happening; discussion, conversation; and helping people get paid,”

The application of "Jobs to be done" is far and wide from building products, market, to strategy.

Where else do you think "Jobs to be done" framework can be applied in work context ?

(Further recommended read on Steve Blank's ideas on using this approach to find a market )

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