After years of researching, Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen has come to one critical conclusion: what we've taught for so long - that understanding the customer is the crux of innovation - is wrong. Customers don't buy products or services after all. They "hire" them to do a job. Understanding the customer will not drive innovation success; understanding the job they need to get done will. Christensen calls this the "jobs to be done" approach to innovation. It promises dramatically improved innovation outcomes. Organizations that reframe their innovation efforts from insight all the way through activation around understanding this breakthrough framework-not product benefits and features-will transform innovation from a game of chance to a home run.
Vetted and proven to work within many of the world's most respected business companies and fast-growing startups alike (for example, Amazon, Apple, Intuit, Zappos, Zipcar, Uber, Airbnb, and Chobani yogurt), The Jobs to be Done theory plays a vital role in answering questions raised by Christensen's seminal theory of disruptive innovation, first introduced to the world in 1997 and still tremendously popular - researched, employed, debated and critiqued alike. Its enduring power is largely because it is a theory; it is predictive, not merely descriptive. The same is true for the theory of Jobs to be Done, in this case bringing predictive theory to an even more demanding challenge: innovating for growth. If a company deeply understands the theory of Jobs to be Done - and focuses itself on that intelligence - it has the potential to virtually eliminate the probability of disruption. But more than fending off possible attacks from below, this theory holds the insight necessary to sustain growth over the long haul.
Some of the most successful product launches in recent years are not ones that garnered fawning headlines. Beer with lime? Thin cheese slices? Protein granola bars? Are such simple products really breakthrough ideas? Yes. Anheuser Busch hit a homerun with Bud Light Lime, selling over half a billion dollars in its first two years - in spite of internal resistance to launching "a sissy beer." Nothing sounds less innovative than a cheese company rolling out yet another cheese product, this one pre-packaged ultra-thin slices. But Sargento cleared $50 million in its first year with the product, driving enormous category growth and exceeding $150 million in year two. Nature Valley saw an opportunity for a different permutation with its protein chewy granola bars, and generated $100 million in its first year. In each of these cases, the new product didn't simply replace declining revenue in similar categories. It created new growth and significant market expansion. All of these endeavors were created - explicitly or implicitly - around the theory of Jobs to be Done.
This book will carefully lay down the Jobs to be Done framework and tools with a comprehensive explanation of the theory, why it is predictive, how to use it in the real world, and how not to squander the insights it provides.