Innovation Insights: Using the Jobs to be Done Framework for Technological Innovation

November 19, 2020

Jack Miles
Senior Research Director

Innovation Insights is our monthly series, where we look at technological innovation. The series is based on recent surveys with Arm Holdings, one of the world’s most influential technology companies.

A Quick Recap

So far, we’ve talked about consumer insights on how they feel about a range of technologies that’ll affect our lives in the next decade.

We’re also going to cover topics such as:

  • Security: will security concerns stifle technological and product innovation or just lead to more secure products?
  • Insight-driven innovation: what processes can turn insight into innovation and how can insights into the way young people interact with technology be used to prototype software that helps and empowers them to tackle cyberbullying?

These insights play a central role in the innovation process. They allow business leaders to dial-up or dial down technology and better position their products to appeal to as broad a consumer audience as possible.

But, understanding consumer feelings is just one piece of the puzzle. For innovation to succeed, and it doesn’t always, it must create or meet consumer demand.

Let’s look at how:

Technology as a Problem Solver

By acting as a problem solver, technology creates or meets consumer demand.

All definitions of technology share a common theme – the technology exists to solve problems. And the best technology products and services do just this.

For example, email solves the problem of sending a letter and waiting days for it to arrive. A laptop solves the problem of people being unable to work efficiently from home or on the move. So it makes sense to use insights into consumer problems as the central point for innovation. This is where Jobs to Be Done comes in.

What is Jobs to Be Done?

Jobs to Be Done is an innovative technology framework that:

  • Explores consumers’ problems
  • Finds unanswered consumers’ problems
  • Targets innovations to solve these problems  

Jobs to Be Done works on the idea that consumers don’t buy products or services. Instead, they pull them into their lives to make progress towards a goal. This progress is called the “Job” they want to get done.

Continuing the metaphor, customers then ‘hire’ products or services for a specific ‘Job’. If the product does the ‘Job’ well, they’ll ‘hire’ it again, and if not, they’ll look elsewhere.

How is Jobs to Be Done Used for Innovation?

By using Jobs to Be Done, companies can ensure that insight is at the heart of innovation. Jobs to Be Done:

Uncovers all consumer ‘Jobs’: using qualitative interviews and pushing past surface-level consumer levels to get to the deep-rooted reasons why consumers ‘Hire’ certain products above others. Using Jobs to Be Done, you can explore the functional, emotional and social dimensions of each ‘Job’ to get rich insight for innovation.

Prioritises the ‘Job’ with the biggest innovation and commercial opportunity: by measuring the ‘Job’s’ size, relevance and ability to exist products to satisfy the ‘Job.’

Targets innovation towards specific ‘Jobs’: by using innovation strategy to target the most commercially viable ‘Jobs’ with significant consumer demand.

Why does Jobs to Be Done Lead to Better Innovations?

By using this innovative technology, you can:

Focus:  your strategy on what matters most. Jobs to Be Done offers a framework for uncovering, prioritising and targeting the deep-rooted ‘Jobs’ that really drive consumer behaviour.

Deliver actionable innovation goals: We’ve talked about consumers ‘hiring’ a product. By innovation explicitly focusing on the ‘Job’ you get a better blueprint for innovation vs overly generic consumer needs or segments.

Widen the margins for innovation: because Jobs to Be Done focuses on consumer ‘Jobs’ rather than existing products. It means it redefines categories and competitive sets, widening potential market value.

Have confidence in investment decisions: because Jobs to Be Done is a rigorous process. It means your innovation is built on stable foundations with a commercial and budgetary safe focus.  

Wrapping Up

Jobs to Be Done is an excellent way of using insight for innovation that can be applied across any sector, although it’s incredibly valuable where technological innovation is concerned.

Jobs to Be Done is just one way of using insights for innovation. Next month, we’ll look at how to quickly transform insights into innovation prototypes using Design Thinking. Stay tuned!

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