After decades of watching great companies fail, we’ve come to the conclusion that the focus on correlation—and on knowing more and more about customers—is taking firms in the wrong direction. What they really need to home in on is the progress that the customer is trying to make in a given circumstance—what the customer hopes to accomplish. This is what we’ve come to call the job to be done.
When we buy a product, we essentially “hire” it to help us do a job. If it does the job well, the next time we’re confronted with the same job, we tend to hire that product again. And if it does a crummy job, we “fire” it and look for an alternative.
Identifying Jobs to Be Done
- Do you have a job that needs to be done?
- Where do you see nonconsumption?
- What work-arounds have people invented?
- What tasks do people want to avoid?
- What surprising uses have customers invented for existing products?
Successful innovations help consumers to solve problems—to make the progress they need to, while addressing any anxieties or inertia that might be holding them back.
Bob has a theory that customers always experience conflict when considering a new purchase—what he calls “the struggling moment.” There are pressures pushing them to act―to solve a problem by “hiring” a solution—and forces like inertia, fear of change, and anxiety holding them back.