The foremost authority on innovation and growth presents a path-breaking book every company needs to transform innovation from a game of chance to one in which they develop products and services customers not only want to buy, but are willing to pay premium prices for.
How do companies know how to grow? How can they create products that they are sure customers want to buy? Can innovation be more than a game of hit and miss? Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen has the answer. A generation ago, Christensen revolutionized business with his groundbreaking theory of disruptive innovation. Now, he goes further, offering powerful new insights.
After years of research, Christensen has come to one critical conclusion: our long held maxim—that understanding the customer is the crux of innovation—is wrong. Customers don’t buy products or services; they "hire" them to do a job. Understanding customers does not drive innovation success, he argues. Understanding customer jobs does. The "Jobs to Be Done" approach can be seen in some of the world’s most respected companies and fast-growing startups, including Amazon, Intuit, Uber, Airbnb, and Chobani yogurt, to name just a few. But this book is not about celebrating these successes—it’s about predicting new ones.
Christensen contends that by understanding what causes customers to "hire" a product or service, any business can improve its innovation track record, creating products that customers not only want to hire, but that they’ll pay premium prices to bring into their lives. Jobs theory offers new hope for growth to companies frustrated by their hit and miss efforts.
This book carefully lays down Christensen’s provocative framework, providing a comprehensive explanation of the theory and why it is predictive, how to use it in the real world—and, most importantly, how not to squander the insights it provides.
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About the Author
CLAYTON M. CHRISTENSEN is the Kim B. Clark Professor at Harvard Business School, the author of nine books, a five-time recipient of the McKinsey Award for Harvard Business Review’s best article, and the cofounder of four companies, including the innovation consulting firm Innosight. In 2011 and 2013 he was named the world’s most influential business thinker in a biennial ranking conducted by Thinkers50.
TADDY HALL is a principal with the Cambridge Group and a leader of Nielsen’s Breakthrough Innovation Project. In these capacities, he helps senior executives create successful new products and improve innovation processes. He also works extensively with executives in emerging markets as an advisor to the nonprofit Endeavor.
KAREN DILLON is the former editor of the Harvard Business Review and coauthor of the New York Times bestseller How Will You Measure Your Life? She is a graduate of Cornell University and Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. In 2011 she was named by Ashoka as one of the world’s most influential and inspiring women.
DAVID S. DUNCAN is a senior partner at Innosight. He’s a leading thinker and advisor to senior executives on innovation strategy and growth, helping them navigate disruptive change, create sustainable growth, and transform their organizations to thrive for the long term. He is a graduate of Duke University and earned a PhD in physics from Harvard University.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Why You Should Hire This Book ix
Section I An Introduction to Jobs Theory
Chapter 1 The Milk Shake Dilemma 3
Chapter 2 Progress, Not Products 21
Chapter 3 Jobs in the Wild 47
Section 2 The Hard Work-and Payoff-of Applying Jobs Theory
Chapter 4 Job Hunting 69
Chapter 5 How to Hear What Your Customers Don't Say 95
Chapter 6 Building Your Résumé 123
Section 3 The Jobs to Be Done Organization
Chapter 7 Integrating Around a Job 151
Chapter 8 Keeping Your Eye on the Job 177
Chapter 9 The Jobs-Focused Organization 197
Chapter 10 Final Observations About the Theory of Jobs 221