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Book: Competing Against Luck

by Clayton M. Christensen et al.

People don't need tools and products, instead they want their "jobs to be done". Jobs to be Done (JTBD) can be defined as a functional, social or emotional progress in different life situations. These jobs are very specific to people and context, which needs to be understood deeply to reveal the true JTBD.

Book: Competing Against Luck

Top quotes

  1. "Here is the fundamental problem: the masses and masses of data that companies accumulate are not organized in a way that enables them to reliably predict which ideas will succeed. Instead the data is along the lines of “this customer looks like that one,” “this product has similar performance attributes as that one,” and “these people behaved the same way in the past,” or “68 percent of customers say they prefer version A over version B.” None of that data, however, actually tells you why customers make the choices that they do."
  2. “All this data is focused around customers and the product itself—not how well the product is solving customers’ jobs.”
  3. "Correlation does not reveal the one thing that matters most in innovation—the causality behind why I might purchase a particular solution."
  4. "Theory of disruptive innovation (...) explains the phenomenon by which an innovation transforms an existing market or sector by introducing simplicity, convenience, accessibility, and affordability where complication and high cost have become the status quo—eventually completely redefining the industry."
  5. "We define a “job” as the progress that a person is trying to make in a particular circumstance. (...) Progress (...) represents movement toward a goal or aspiration.(...) Circumstance (...) “specific context in which it arises. There are dozens of questions that could be important to answer in defining the circumstance of a job. “Where are you?” “When is it?” “Who are you with?” “While doing what?” “What were you doing half an hour ago?” “What will you be doing next?” “What social or cultural or political pressures exert influence?” And so on. Our notion of a circumstance can extend to other contextual factors as well, such as life-stage (“just out of college?” “stuck in a midlife crisis?” “nearing retirement?”), family status (“married, single, divorced?” “newborn baby, young children at home, adult parents to take care of?”), or financial status (“underwater in debt?” “ultra-high net worth?”) just to name a few. The circumstance is fundamental to defining the job (and finding a solution for it), because the nature of the progress desired will always be strongly influenced by the circumstance.”
  6. “Finally, a job has an inherent complexity to it: it not only has functional dimensions, but it has social and emotional dimensions, too.”
  7. “This is very different from the traditional marketing concept of “needs” because it entails a much higher degree of specificity about what you’re solving for. “Needs are ever present and that makes them necessarily more generic. “I need to eat” is a statement that is almost always true. “I need to feel healthy.” “I need to save for retirement.” Those needs are important to consumers, but their generality provides only the vaguest of direction to innovators as to how to satisfy them.”

Lessions learned

  1. A job is the progress that an individual seeks in a given circumstance.
  2. Successful innovations enable an individual’s desired progress, resolve struggles, and fulfill unmet aspirations. They perform jobs that formerly had only inadequate or nonexistent solutions.
  3. Jobs are never simply about the functional—they have important social and emotional dimensions, which can be even more powerful than functional ones.
  4. Because jobs occur in the flow of daily life, the circumstance is central to their definition and becomes the essential unit of innovation work—not customer characteristics, product attributes, new technology, or trends.
  5. To understand why customers "hire" products and services focus on the supremely practical question of what causes what.
  6. The, understand how the product is solving customer's jobs.