Jobs to be Done (JTBD), creates better product ideas

There is “brainstorming” in almost every organization. This popular method causes the walls of an office space to be filled with dozens if not hundreds of post-it notes within an hour. The most important ground rule during a brainstorming session is that there are no bad ideas. You don't criticize, even give positive feedback, on other people's ideas. Because all ideas are allowed: ordinary ideas, far-fetched, obvious, naive, absurd and, of course, the clever ideas. After all, the goal is to generate as many ideas as possible, in as wide a variety as possible. Evaluating and selecting the ideas is something for later. Unfortunately, afterwards frustrations and disappointments often go hand in hand because only five percent of the ideas lead to a successful product. 

Brainstorming is thus ineffective as a starting point in generating valuable product ideas. The reason brainstorming is inefficient is that it lacks quantitative criteria that a team can use to quickly and efficiently evaluate new product ideas. The current innovation process needs to be adjusted accordingly. 

Introducing Jobs to be Done
Brainstorming with the end in mind makes innovations much more successful. To do this, you need to zoom in on what customers want to achieve in certain circumstances. By mapping this out, you provide objective criteria. This is necessary before you generate hundreds of ideas in a brainstorming session. Adding the Jobs-to-be-Done approach to your innovation process turns about 85 percent of ideas into a successful product. 

Most organizations segment their market based on the products offered. For example, we know the market of health insurance, pharmaceuticals, laptops, online marketing, etc. Organizations thus place their own products at the center and have a mindset similar to how our solar system was thought about centuries ago. It was thought then that the earth was the fixed point in our solar system. It was Copernicus who stated in 1543 that it was not the earth that was central but that the earth revolved around the sun. This insight turned the world upside down and radically changed the way of thinking. It's the same with the JTBD approach. Thus, the market does not revolve around your product but around the tasks the customer wants to accomplish. 

Many industries have been completely transformed in recent decades. The consequences for organizations are disastrous when sticking to a particular (technological) solution. From Nokia, Kodak, to Blackberry; they all became obsolete within a short period of time. The music market also experienced this. In forty years, the music carrier market was completely turned upside down a number of times. 

The music market changed from an LP market to that of cassette tapes, CDs, MP3s and then to a streaming market. It shows that products (the chosen solution) have changed greatly over time. If you want to stay relevant it can only be done by focusing on what the customer wants to achieve. A customer within the music market has wanted to achieve his task (Job) around: 'Listening to music' for decades. This also shows the additional benefit of the JTBD approach. That tasks such as 'listening to music' remain unchanged over the years. This also creates another future-proof strategy. 

Determining the Jobs-to-be-Done.
Using the Jobs to be Done (JTBD) canvas, you add qualitative criteria to the innovation process. Criteria against which ideas can be tested. The JTBD canvas is a handy tool to determine your client's tasks. 

The JTBD canvas always assumes what tasks a client wants to accomplish. Tasks with which the customer wants to progress in his life. Focusing on task aspects instead of product and customer features is a new refreshing approach. Start with the following four steps to get started with JTBD: 

Define the customer in a given situation:  A situation describes the circumstances in which the customer performs its task.
What goal does the customer want to achieve: Tasks describe those things your customers are trying to do in their work or personal lives. The description of a customer task consists of a verb, a noun and an expression of progress. Tasks are the underlying activities to accomplish a goal.
Discover customer needs and wants: People don't buy products or services; they want solutions. Your products or services help solve customer problems. Problems can be functional as well as social and emotional in nature. 
Which solution is being used now? Name the benefits and pain points that the customer experiences with the products and services. that he/she uses now. What barriers does the customer experience to switching to a new solution (cost, risk, unknown category of behavior change, difficult to use, etc.)?

Ruud Olijve

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