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Job to be done

11 February 2020

I had an early meeting on Friday morning and for my 6am (caffeine deprived) commute into the office, I needed a podcast that was entertaining, thought provoking with a dose of inspiration.

As I scrolled through my playlist I came across HBR's Idea Cast’s episode 720 Revisiting “Jobs To Be Done” with Clayton Christensen.

The late Christensen is known for his influential theory on disruptive innovation and the concept of jobs to be done. Chrisrensen’s theory is that people buy products and services to get jobs done. While products come and go, the underlying jobs to be done does not go away.

For example, I have a job to be done daily, to vacuum the house and pick up all the dog hair that my 2 Labradors drop. I can either vacuum myself and spend 20 minutes each day or use a robotic vacuum cleaner that I can put it on a timer to run at 9am each day. The robotic vacuum cleaner is not as good as the full-size Dyson but it does 90% of the “job”.

It is a different perspective to look at innovation and is a crucial first stage of the design thinking process, to gain an empathic understanding of the problem you are trying to solve, understand what is the “job to be done”.

This theory can be applied to anyone designing, developing and selling products and services.

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