Know your customers’ “Jobs to be done”


By Clayton M. Christensen, David S. Duncan, Karen Dillon and Taddy Hall

Download the full HBR article “Know Your Customers’ ‘Jobs to Be Done'”  

Firms have never known more about their customers, but their innovation processes remain hit-or-miss. Why? Product developers focus too much on building customer profiles and looking for correlations in data. To create offerings that people truly want to buy, firms instead need to hone in on the job the customer is trying to get done.
Some jobs are little (pass the time); some are big (find a more fulfilling career). When we buy a product, we essentially “hire” it to help us do a job. If it does the job well, we’ll hire it again. If it does a crummy job, we “fire” it and look for something else to solve the problem.

Excerpted from the forthcoming book, Jobs-to-be-done theory can transform your understanding of customer choice in a way that no amount of data ever could, because it gets at the causal driver behind a purchase. By identifying jobs that are poorly performed in customers’ lives and then designing products, experiences, and processes around those jobs, companies can improve innovation success.