The Jobs to be Done Approach (JTBD) and Disruptive Innovation

Disruptive Innovation
Knowledge Center


Best Practices
Akshay Nirmal
Business Consultant, Australia

The Jobs to be Done Approach (JTBD) and Disruptive Innovation

The Theory of Disruptive Innovation helps companies capture opportunities and understand threats coming from their external environment. In particular for and from innovative entrepreneurial firms, typically offering web-based, low-end, technological substitutes. However, it fails to explain WHAT companies should do to innovate.
Traditionally, companies segment their markets by customer demographics or product characteristics and differentiate their offerings by adding features and functions.

The theory of "Jobs to be Done" (JTBD) can be closely related to the theory of disruption and provides a tool to come up with disruptive strategies. Building on earlier work by Tony Ulwick on Outcome Driven Innovation, Clayton Christensen argues that when customers buy a product from suppliers, what they REALLY want is to hire them to do a job. So we should think of ideas that make this job for the customer more simple, faster, better, more convenient, more fun or cheaper.
Understanding such 'jobs to be done' can give better, original insights to companies about which products or services they should offer. Furthermore, knowing how a job can be done in a better way than before can also help firms creating a better customer experience. This is where technology comes to the picture.

Theodore Levitt already said over 50 years ago: "People don't want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole". But if you think further about it, what they really want is to decorate their room by hanging a painting on the wall.
Another example is booking a room to stay for a night when you're abroad. The related 'job' is done better by a disruptive innovation than it was done before by traditional hotels and travel agencies for customers that want to enjoy independent travel, stay in affordable accommodations with locals and feel like a local when I travel. The disruptive innovation was Airbnb.

The approach consists approximately of 4 main steps:
  1. Define the jobs-to-be-done of the customer.
  2. Make the customer describe the end result of each job-to-be-done.
  3. Split each job-to-be-done into successive activities.
  4. Consider in what way your customer's job can be made easier, etc.
The theory of disruptive innovation explains whether an innovation will sustain in the market or not. It also gives insights about threats present in the market.
The theory of "Jobs to be Done" helps innovation managers of companies to think up how to innovate and what products, services and experience to offer to do a job a customer needs to have performed in a better way.

Christensen, C., Hall, T., Dillon, K. and Duncan, D. (2016). Know Your Customers' "Jobs to Be Done". Harvard Business Review, (September 2016).
Dillon, K. (2016). What Airbnb Understands About Customers' "Jobs to Be Done". Harvard Business Review, (August 2016)


Paramathmuni srinivas Kumar

Jobs To Be Done Approach

To me, the jobs to be done approach is useful where the processes are relatively stable and continua... Sign up

Jeff Washburn
Strategy Consultant, United States

Jobs to be Done is About what they Say versus what they Think

The real advantage is not in making improvements in products for customers. As Akshay points out, t... Sign up

Ivan Kohlinsky
Management Consultant, United Kingdom

Jobs to be Done Approach is a Bit Like Lateral Thinking

I found this very interesting, but can't really add much. In some ways it is akin to 'Lateral Thinki... Sign up

HR professional, Australia

Customer Focus of Staff Needed for JTBD

Empathy and good listening skills are required from the staff to understand the customer's point of ... Sign up

HR Consultant, India

Jobs to Be Done is Thinking Ahead

In my opinion, Jobs to be Done Theory really helps an organisation to think how to develop its proce... Sign up

Annalisa Cordoba
Manager, Spain

6 Basic Ideas Behind the Jobs to Be Done Theory

Hi, I found following 6 basic 'tenants' of Jobs To Be done Theory in an interesting article by Antho... Sign up

Neilson Asiedu
Strategy Consultant, United States

Job to Be Done is about Customer Experiences

Job to be Done identifies the first step in creating good quality products with attributes that cust... Sign up

Aaron Agassi

Simply: Means to Ends

An objective may be a goal (end) in and of itselve, or a means to achieve some other end. This is no... Sign up

Rick Mueller
Professor, United States

Use of Jobs2Bdone in Prediction and Practice

@Aaron Agassi: In the final lines or your response you come far closer to the answer than you may re... Sign up

Jaap de Jonge
Editor, Netherlands

From JTBD to a Successful Personal Transformation?

According to Bettencourt et al. companies are focusing too much on the quality, convenience, or expe... Sign up

Dr. Alan Williams
Professor, Thailand

Jobs to be Done / Innovation

As a consultant I've advised / suggested structured systems to several companies on this subject and... Sign up

Maurice Hogarth
Consultant, United Kingdom

Deep Level Thinking About your Product-Service Mix

@Akshay Nimal: This point: "People don't want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch... Sign up

Professor, Ukraine

What Companies Should do to Innovate

Advances in technology make it possible to make goods and services more and more individual, adapted... Sign up


More on Disruptive Innovation:
Discussion Topics
Innovation Strategy: The Three Horizons of Growth (McKinsey)
👀The Jobs to be Done Approach (JTBD) and Disruptive Innovation
Disruptive versus Incremental Innovation
Disruptive Innovation: Product versus Platform
Strategic Options for Old-Technology Firms
Impact of the New Technology
Tips for Innovation Strategy
Typical Disruptive Technologies
How can Incumbents Respond to Disruptors?
How to Develop Disruptive Innovation Skills?
Disruptive Change and HR
Diversity of Perspective is Key to Disruptive Innovation
How to Find Innovative Ideas? From Analogous Markets...
WHAT is Being Innovated? The 4 Ps of Innovation
How to Sustain Disruptive Innovation?
Timing is Important to Make an Innovative Idea Disruptive
Leadership and Taking Action
Is Cirque du Soleil the iPhone or the Seiko of Circus?
Ways to Incorporate Disruptive Innovation as Part of the Management Agenda
Blue/Innovate and Red/Disrupt
🔥Innovation Ideas in Economic Slowdowns
Business Model Innovation
Comparison Disruptive Innovation versus Blue Ocean Strategy
Disruptive Innovation or Improved Technology?
Slow Innovation: PROs, CONs and Tips
The Hybrid Innovation Approach to Manage Technological Disruptions
A Disruptive Innovation Questions what we Don't Know
Asymmetric Innovation
Disruptive Innovation and Public Sector Organisations
Disruptive Innovation: What Causes the Creative Leap?
Is Value Innovation Disruptive Innovation?
Leadership Skills / Approaches for Successful Innovation
Paradigmatic Changes Require Re-orientation of Ones World Views
The Resources-Processes-Values (RPV) Framework
Are Clayton Christensenís Disruptive Innovation Characteristics Useful in Practice?
Better Input from Consumers Needed for Disruptive Innovation
Leapfrogging Technologies by Developing Countries
The Word 'Disruptive' in Disruptive Innovation
What is Disruptive Innovation Exactly? Definition
Distinguishing Three Types of Innovation
Is Disruptive Innovation Radical?
Breakthrough versus Disruptive Innovation
Special Interest Group

Do you know a lot about Disruptive Innovation? Become our SIG Leader

Disruptive Innovation
Knowledge Center

About 12manage | Advertising | Link to us / Cite us | Privacy | Suggestions | Terms of Service
© 2023 12manage - The Executive Fast Track. V16.1 - Last updated: 5-2-2023. All names ô of their owners.