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Nov 01 2016
ICEL Recap: Truly Understanding Customer with
Kyle Meade, Sunroc Corporation

Jeff Simpson gave a great presentation about innovation and job focusing. He based his ideas from the "Jobs-To-Be-Done" framework introduced by Tony Ulwick and made popular by Clayton Christensen. The basis of the "Jobs-To-Be-Done" framework is to get people to think differently about how to know "What products will customers want to buy?"

To get into the right frame of mind, start by thinking that "People don't buy things, they hire solutions." For example, customers don't want a 1/4-inch drill, they want a 1/4-inch hole. What solution will this customer hire? They will want the solution that will satisfy three dimensions: functional, social, and emotional. The solution must be functional or give the desired result. Social, the solution must look appealing. Emotional, the solutions must make the customer feel good while using it. 

Jeff gave us four questions to consider while trying to pinpoint potential jobs.

  1. What fundamental problem is the customer trying to solve?
  2. What criteria (functional-social-emotional dimensions) do customers use to evaluate solutions?
  3. What barriers limit the solution?
  4. What solutions do customers workaround?


After a job has been found and an idea for a solution has been made, using the process of simple prioritization can tell us how successful the solution could be.

  1. Does the job occur relatively frequently?
  2. How frustrated is the customer by the inability to get the job done with today's solutions?

If the job occurs frequently and the frustration level is high, the solution has great potential. Jeff also pointed out that the "Jobs-To-Be-Done" framework can be used for any type of job, product development, customer sales, or internal support staff. The important things to consider are "Who is my customer, What do they really want and how can I most effectively provide that product?" The last thing that Jeff pointed out was, customers don't always know what they want. A quote from Henry Ford says it all, "If I asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses."