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Innovation&: Job to be done

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

Kundenzentrierte Innovation

Image: Human or User-Centered Design (HCD/UCD) and Jobs Theory (JTBD) focus on users and their activities at the core of a company's activities, not technologies, products, or features.

In a world characterized by constant change, innovation is a critical success factor for the companies of the future. But how can companies ensure that they meet the actual needs of their customers or the "not yet customers"? Instead of solely focusing on the further development of existing products and features in an increasingly competitive market, many of which may have too many unwanted functions, it is essential to address underserved markets. The "Job to be done" mindset offers an alternative perspective, leaving behind the vertical thinking of a company or industry and seeing the world from the users' perspective. This approach places the activities and goals of the customer, rather than the technologies and solutions of a company, at the center. It allows for the development of new solutions for existing or even new markets.


Each customer has specific goals or "jobs" they want to accomplish. These jobs can be of various natures, ranging from simple everyday tasks to complex challenges. By viewing customer needs as jobs, companies can tailor their products and services to specifically target these goals. It is about understanding the intrinsic job the customer wants to do, what hinders them, and how the company can assist them.

Motivators Often, customers are unsure about what they want or what solutions are available for their needs. Instead of solely focusing on explicit desires and requirements, companies should understand the true motivators of their customers. Why do they want to accomplish a specific job? What goals do they want to achieve? Are they functional, social, or emotional aspects? By identifying these true motivators, companies can develop innovative solutions that genuinely add value for the customers.


Focusing on the goals a customer wants to achieve enables companies to adapt their products and services accordingly. Instead of solely concentrating on a product's features, companies ask themselves how they can support the customer in achieving their goals or remove obstacles. This mindset requires a deep understanding of the customers' needs and challenges. By identifying the actual job, companies can develop better solutions that truly satisfy the customers.

Friction Another essential aspect of the "Job to be done" approach is recognizing friction. Friction occurs when customers encounter obstacles or problems in achieving their goals. These can be inefficient processes, inadequate products, or unclear communication. By understanding and recognizing friction, companies can develop innovative solutions to eliminate these obstacles and provide customers with a smooth fulfillment process.

Co-decision makers and influencers

When considering a customer's job, it is essential to take into account the role of co-decision makers and influencers. Often, it is not only the customers themselves who want to accomplish the job, but there are additional stakeholders involved in the decision-making process. By understanding the needs and motivations of these co-decision makers and influencers, companies can tailor their offerings and gain their support.

Understanding underserved needs and alternatives The "Job to be done" mindset allows companies to tap into the vast new market of underserved or poorly served needs. Often, customers themselves may not be able to clearly articulate or recognize their unmet needs. However, by better understanding these unmet needs and existing alternatives, companies can develop innovative solutions to address these gaps. This opens up new opportunities for companies to explore new markets and differentiate themselves from the competition.

Disrupting existing markets

Companies applying the "Job to be done" approach have the potential to disrupt existing markets. By understanding the actual needs and goals of customers and developing innovative solutions, they can improve the quality and efficiency of existing offerings. Established providers often struggle to react quickly to these new solutions, creating a market for underserved or poorly served needs that innovative companies can capitalize on.

Exemplary company: Uber A vivid example of applying the "Job to be done" approach is the company Uber. Uber recognized that the actual need of customers was not just to call a taxi but to conveniently get from point A to point B. By leveraging this insight and developing a user-friendly platform that allowed customers to book rides quickly and easily through an app, the company revolutionized the taxi industry and addressed a large underserved market of both demanders and providers (private and commercial transport providers). By identifying the actual job and eliminating friction, Uber not only created a new market but also posed significant challenges to established providers. Overall, the market for transport services even grew.

Conclusion - Job to be done

The "Job to be done" approach changes the way companies develop innovations. It shifts the focus to the goals (outcomes) of customers and the desired results (impact). As a result, the output (features, products, and services) of the providing company is derived from this. By starting the journey with the customer and then working backward, companies ensure that only products and services are developed that someone wants and that truly meet customers' actual needs. By identifying underserved needs and considering co-decision makers and influencers, companies can explore new markets and meet existing markets' changing requirements with demand-driven offerings.


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