‘… for Customer-Centered Innovation’ part four

By Stephen WunkerJessica Wattman, and David Farber
Published by Amacom
ISBN: 9780814438039
Ebook ISBN: 9780814438084
Copyright © 2017 by Stephen Wunker

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“The section concludes with an afterword that explains how companies can build Jobs-based innovation capabilities within their organizations. Included is an up-close look at how we have helped institutionalize and scale Jobs to be Done thinking at one of the fastest-growing companies in the Fortune 500.

As customers continue to have higher and higher expectations from the businesses serving them, product life cycles continue to shrink. To stay relevant and keep growing, companies need to continuously innovate—and those innovations had better be good. Finding a way to repeatedly satisfy current customers and simultaneously attract new ones is arguably the biggest challenge facing companies today. The Jobs Roadmap meets precisely that need. The chapters that follow provide a detailed explanation of not only how to gain deep customer insights but also how to turn those observations into breakthrough innovations. We have researched how some of the leading companies around the globe have used Jobs-based thinking to create successful and lasting new product lines, and we have combined that with our years of experience in helping companies put the Jobs methods to the test in their own industries. As you read on, you will learn how these lessons can help create success in the face of your own current challenges.




It’s not enough to have a strong vision or a single great idea. To successfully innovate—in a way that doesn’t mimic every other competitor—you need to see the range of opportunities open to you. A serious customer-centric view of the landscape will tell you what routes contain latent opportunities for you to exploit. It can also lead you away from uncomfortable pain points associated with current approaches and guide you through the pitfalls of getting customers to act in unfamiliar ways. Importantly, a true customer-centric approach will pinpoint the ways in which a new solution has to excel over existing offerings and lead you down the right paths to making money.


All over the world, people go about their days getting things done. Much of what they do is aimed at satisfying a collection of short- and long-term objectives that they see as being related to their well-being. The many decisions that they make throughout the day—which toothpaste to use, whether to drink coffee or tea, what product to buy for their company—are all part of satisfying these objectives, as each person defines them.

But what if people know only part of what they want? Or—even more radical—what if they don’t really understand why they want what they want? While such confusion at first glance seems like a recipe for innovation disaster, it is precisely in this knowledge gap where opportunities for new growth exist. Throughout this section, we will answer such questions as: How can companies use this knowledge gap to attract new customers or launch new products? How can figuring out the known and unknown drivers of consumer behavior give companies an advantage in the marketplace? And if people themselves don’t know what they want or why they want it, how can someone else figure it out?

This process for finding growth opportunities is the product of 12 years of our own research and experimentation, which builds on further precedent before then. The core premise is the intuitive but not so obvious idea that by digging into the “why” of people’s actions, you can uncover the set of reasons—emotional, psychological, and practical—that drive people to behave in certain ways rather than in others. Ultimately, people are just trying to get things done in their lives, whether they are making a purchase for their own use, collaborating in a business-to-business transaction, or consuming a government service. They can employ a wide range of solutions to get these jobs done, so concentrating attention on solutions used—as marketers typically do—is incorrect. It is the jobs that really matter. Once you understand what jobs people are striving to do, it becomes easier to predict what products or services they will take up and which will fall flat.

While not the only requirement for successfully innovating or growing, identifying the range of jobs that current or future customers are trying to satisfy is central to any innovation strategy; it guards against pursuing phantom opportunities and grounds the innovation in smart data. The Jobs to be Done approach—which is explained in detail in this section—creates a powerful method for creating breakthrough innovations again and again.

(continued on Friday)



1. Jobs
2. Job Drivers
3. Current Approaches and Pain Points
4. Success Criteria
5. Obstacles
6. Value
7. Competition

8. Establish Objectives
9. Plan Your Approach
10. Generate Ideas
11. Reframe Your Perspective
12. Experiment and Iterate”


In a challenging economy filled with nimble competitors, no one can afford to stagnate. Yet, innovation is notoriously difficult. Only 1 in 100 new products are successful enough to cover development costs, and even fewer impact a company’s growth trajectory. So how do you pinpoint the winning ideas that customers will love?

Jobs to Be Done gives you a clear-cut framework for thinking about your business and a roadmap for discovering new markets, products, services, and creative opportunities to innovate your way to success.


STEPHEN WUNKER worked with Clayton Christensen for years, building out consulting practices based on his teachings. He now runs New Markets Advisors. He has written for ForbesHarvard Business Review, and The Financial Times.

JESSICA WATTMAN leads New Markets’ social innovation practice. She has applied Jobs principles in work from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.


DAVID FARBER is a manager at New Markets. An avid hiker and traveler, he has explored six continents.

This week’s selection ‘Jobs to Be Done: A Roadmap for Customer-Centered Innovation’ By Stephen Wunker, Jessica Wattman, and David Farber appears Monday thru Friday and comes to you courtesy of dearreader.com and BurlingtonPublicLibrary.ca Business Online Book Club.

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