Should Jobs to be Done Theory have a Technology Core?

If you are reading this, many of you are influenced by Clayton Christensen’s work in profound ways. For much of my career, I am speaking his words, combining my theories to his, into a myriad of situations. What he teaches works very well. What worries me is how scalable is it. Not just anyone can think the way he does and apply it to a business situation. There are strong forces at work to keep things the same. Just look at the long history of old and new companies that have floundered. They kept things the same.

In Clayton’s book Competing Against Luck, one of his core questions is ‘why is product development and innovation so hard?’ Can you do things to predict outcomes by deeply understanding people? Unfortunately, of the tens of thousands of products launched every year the vast majority struggle in the marketplace. The concept of understanding people is still very new.

When I read some of the early work of Jobs to be Done (JTBD) theory, I immediately wanted to turn this into software. Clayton teaches us that Disruptive Innovation must have a technology core that is affordable, accessible and easy to use. Bingo! Disruptive Innovation itself is complex and involves many different departments and tasks. Disruptive Innovation is a lot like building enterprise software. JTBD theory is another thing. For me, converting theories of people via psycholinguistics, is the pathway. It empowers Disruptive Innovation which means we must look for theories of people not based on ‘data of the past’ such as demographics, spend, clicks and cookies. Clicks are not people.

In my opinion it is JTBD software makes Disruptive Innovation scalable via a technology core. What I invented I wish to convert into an open source product that makes Clayton’s theories accessible, affordable and easy to use. There’s no reason why we should hold this great theory hostage.

Keeping the end in mind, Jobs to be Done software lets us empower organizations in ways we have never seen before. Predicting customers, balancing customer equity with customer delight, launch products that solve real needs and market them efficiently. To predict is to preserve and focus on what matters most to organizations and people.

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