Innovation and Jobs To Be Done

John W Lewis's picture
Chat Date: 
Thu, Jan 11, 2018

Why are people buying and using your products? As Theodore Levitt pointed out in 1974 "People don't want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole." This is an example of type of thinking is the basis of the "Jobs To Be Done".

"Jobs To Be Done" is the label given to an approach which focusses on the goals that customers want to achieve.

It's a more needs-led approach to the specifications of products than simply reacting to what customers say that they want. It is considered to lead more reliably to significantly better solutions to customers actual needs.

But there are issues to be understood that might not be clear to people unfamiliar with this approach (or, at least, this label for the approach). For example, there are a variety of levels at which customers' needs can be considered. Also, different organizations are better suited to providing different types of solutions.

Other issues to be understood include the role of this approach in innovation, more generally, and how techniques like this sit with the strategy of organizations towards innovation.


Let's discuss "Innovation and Jobs To Be Done" during #innochat on Twitter at 12noon Eastern time on Thursday January 11th 2018, based on the following questions:

  1. What are the main features of the "Jobs To Be Done" approach?
  2. What other approaches does "Jobs To Be Done" replace and surpass?
  3. What issues does "Jobs To Be Done" not address?
  4. How does the "Jobs To Be Done" approach relate to innovation?
  5. How does the "Jobs To Be Done" approach relate to the strategy of the vendor organization?


Theodore Levitt, "Marketing for business growth" 1974

"Know Your Customers’ “Jobs to Be Done”" Clayton M. Christensen, Taddy Hall, Karen Dillon, David S. Duncan Harvard Business Review,

Strategyn, Jobs To Be Done:

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