Principles Research

10 Product & Service Innovation Ideas

Let’s face facts, sometimes the word innovation is treated with suspicion.

And if you say innovation powered by Jobs To Be Done, you better have one eye on the exit in case the meeting gets hostile. A former boss sums up this scepticism:

In his excellent and brilliantly-titled book ‘When Coffee & Kale Compete’, Alan Klement provides practical examples of using JTBD for product and service innovation.

In case you don’t have time to read those 200 pages, here’s 10 important ideas to spark your thinking:

1. A job to be done isn’t an activity or task

It’s the process a consumer goes through when they use a product to improve themselves

2. When consumers start using a solution for a job, they stop using something else

If that solution makes their life better, consumers stop searching and consider the job done

3. Innovation opportunities exist when consumers use ‘workarounds’

Consumer created solutions reveal market opportunities

4. Differentiate between struggling and inconvenienced consumers

Strugglers will be actively searching for a solution, they are where the biggest potential lies

5. Solutions change, jobs (mostly) stay the same

Technology evolves at a faster pace than our consistent, primal motivations

6. Don’t depend on demographic data

It’s corollary not causal data, use it as a guide to find the job to be done

7. Anxiety-in-choice happens when we don’t know if a solution will get the job done

It pops up when we’ve never used a specific solution before

8. Anxiety-in-use happens when we worry about the consistency of a solution

That’s when you can’t predict that a solution will work in exactly the same way

9. You reduce anxiety and pull customers towards your product by showing them the progress they’ll make

Conjure up a vision of progress to win consumers’ hearts (and wallets)

10. Your competition isn’t only products with similar functionality and physical characteristics

Some mornings begin with coffee, others a kale smoothie with a shot of wheatgrass

JTBD continues to chuck out weird and wonderful ideas, some advocates go as far as saying you can’t quantify what customers want.

It’s controversial but gaining traction for a reason – it works. Check out these resources to learn more about the theory, and potentially tut loudly at the assertions:

But for a few, the proof will always need to be in the pudding: