In the field of innovation, moving beyond the principles of simple improvement is key. This is the idea of revolutionizing solutions. Jobs to be done (JTBD) is that concept which aims to deliver on the idea behind a need. Rather than simply fulfilling the need, it aims to move beyond it. 

Basic needs that lie behind a solution are usually easily identified. However, they often stem from a higher purpose. Identifying that underlying need is what lies at the core of the JTBD concept.

The JTBD concept works on understanding the solution behind a purchase. It understands the ultimate purpose a product or service aims to fulfil. The application of this principle is mostly straight-forward. It adds an innovative step in product design.

What is JTBD?

The concept of ‘jobs to be done’ comes from an idea of innovation. It differentiates between the motives of production and consumption. Businesses tend to focus on their target markets, or perfecting their USP. On the other hand, the customer looks for the product that can best perform a job. The approach to providing a product or service then sees drastic changes.

Growth opportunities occur when you understand the need your product is fulfilling. The focus moves from how it can best attract the customer. To be fair, this might not always be possible. Not all types of products and services can align with the JTBD model. However, applying this model can help you find a plethora of innovative opportunities. They help you look at your market in a new light and bring something new to the table.

The business model generally focuses on market segmentation to provide for customers needs. The JTBD concept, however, moves the focus on the customer’s need to find a specific product that gets a job done. This is the core value of this principle, through which you can achieve innovation and growth. 

What constitutes a JTBD?

JTBDs are often split between the main job that needs doing, for which a solution is made. It should also perform relational jobs, to fulfill with the main job. Where you must consider the two aspects, there are also the two elements of any job. The functional elements pertain to its practical requirements. The emotional elements influence perception and feelings in relation to the job.

Even within this domain, there are two factors to consider. The personal and the social factors relate to a customer’s self-perception for a job. These depend on how they believe the others perceive them for their solutions.  

All these aspects combine to form a JTBD. A job solution must work to fulfill all these, and the better it is able to do so, the better it performs. The main concept behind JTBD is to move beyond current solutions. It creates an ever-evolving space that works towards the various aspects of a JTBD.

Innovation is one of the key goals achieved through jobs to be done. The job solution should fulfil the ultimate purpose in an unprecedented manner. The question should always focus on inventive and more efficient solutions. It is a move away from simply making “better” products or services. 

Jobs to be done

Aspects of a Job to be Done

The triune brain model speaks of three areas of the brain that relate to specific attitudes. Interestingly, you can apply this model to JTBD as well. It can influence the approach you can take to developing solutions. This model speaks of the instinctual, emotional and rational parts of the brain. Where the concern is innovation, the goal should be to cater to all three parts. Given that’s not always possible, the more important aspects of a solution should be priority.

The idea behind innovation is to take a risk, and go beyond the norm. If the industry you work in focuses on one aspect in the triune model, you can aim to satisfy another. If the industry works on making a practical appliance, you can work on an emotional design. The design can include easy handling or aesthetic appearance.

New solutions are not automatic, and jobs to be done go beyond just solutions. It is a constant effort to provide greater value for the same solutions.

Achieving JTBD

The concept of JTBD is not easily applied to any model. Rather, it requires certain steps to be followed. Through these, you can begin to utilize this model to accentuate growth. While innovation is a major component, there are a few other things that also require focus.

Identifying Your Market

Identifying your market can go one of many ways, focused on your growth strategy. The very first step is to identify the market to which you will then apply the JTBD concept.

You may do this with a focus on the core aspects of growth, which focus on the major outcomes expected of a certain job. This is a relatively easy innovation technique. It involves simply identifying the need and living up to it.

You can also work on identifying relational growth factors. These focus on achieving related solutions with the main solution. This approach fulfils several purposes in one, that being the key to innovation.

Where the objective is to develop non-traditional solutions, a new growth approach works. While a more difficult undertaking, it produces revolutionary changes. The solutions you create here cater to a new JTBD.

Some growth strategies, however, focus on solutions that move away from limited markets. Their aim is to be available for mass consumption. Such solutions, require a lot of innovation, and a disruption of established markets.

Once a focus market has been identified, you can move on to the second step.

What Jobs Need to be Done?

Developing solutions requires an understanding of what the solutions are for. You need to identify customer needs before you begin to provide for them. Your goal should be to identify gaps in the solutions offered to them. The lack of solutions opens up great opportunities for innovation.

Such a process can involve customer-based studies and surveys. They help identify which solutions are needed. What you also need to know is where they exist. If the solutions are unfulfilling for their purpose, you have identified an opportunity.

Order the JTBDs

A categorization of jobs to be done helps navigate what needs to be done, and how. A main job, for example, will often have many different related jobs. These will combine together to accomplish the main job.

As there are no real principles based on which you can categorize JTBDs, any model that works for you is good. At the base, your solution should be related to the main focus of the industry. Then you can expand outside the norm to focus on new aspects. You can start with identifying the main job first. With that in mind, you can then focus on related jobs. These can involve anything from different emotional or practical aspects.

Describe the Job

The job statement has the express purpose of describing a particular JTBD. The aim is to detail the JTBD in terms of its contextual meaning, its purpose, and how it is performed. This involves three main components to focus on. One of these is the use of action verbs that denote job performance

You should also expressly include the point of action for the specific job. Equally important to its subject, is the need to clarify the context in which it will, or should, occur. With these components you create a statement that catches the gist of a JTBD you are aiming for. 

structure of a job statement

The job statements “manage personal finance at home” and “clean clothes at home” contain key components. These components, as mentioned above, are action verbs, order of action and contextual clarifiers.

Identify the Best Opportunities

Identifying JTBD opportunities isn’t the hard part. You will find, in almost every market, many potential JTBDs. However, you cannot take on every single one of them. You have to prioritize based on where your own skills lie. Look for those opportunities that offer the best room for growth and innovation.

How you prioritize JTBDs is based largely on the existence of current solutions. It also depends on the potential for developing new ones. These should consider both the perspective of the customer and the company. For example, plenty of solutions may exist which do not live up to customer expectation. This presents an opportunity for innovation. On the other hand, some jobs may have few, but well-applied solutions.

Different jobs to be done offer opportunities for different growth approaches. In saturated markets, for example, you may look for disruptive growth to expand the market. Where solutions are limited, you can focus on providing one that aims at the core aspect of the job. Where neither opportunities exist, you can identify relational JTBDs to focus on.

Under-served JTBDs are great for core growth innovation

over-served items are great for disruptive innovation

When your assessments shows JTBD in the middle that are served-right instead of focusing on the main JTBD you should focus on related ones.

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