The Search for Clarity

Innovation: Blind luck or science? (Part 2)

May 20, 2021 Season 1 Episode 5
Innovation: Blind luck or science? (Part 2)
The Search for Clarity
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The Search for Clarity
Innovation: Blind luck or science? (Part 2)
May 20, 2021 Season 1 Episode 5

Unlock the secrets to market innovation with Tony Ulwick as we journey through the revolutionary Jobs to Be Done (JTBD) theory. Together, we map out a fresh approach to understanding consumer needs, defining success metrics, and segmenting markets based on the tasks customers are trying to accomplish. As we move beyond the traditional demographic methods, we reveal how identifying unmet needs using quantitative surveys can lead to groundbreaking innovation. This episode is essential listening for anyone eager to learn how to identify opportunities in areas where customer needs are not sufficiently addressed or are being met with excessive solutions, offering a clear avenue for improvement and efficiency.

Prepare to be equipped with the tools for implementing Outcome-Driven Innovation (ODI) strategies that could transform your organisation. Whether it's enhancing product development or refining customer service processes, the insights from this episode with Tony are invaluable. We examine the synergy of qualitative and quantitative research in shaping effective strategies and take you through initiating the ODI process via customer immersion sessions. We also discuss the challenges that may arise when adopting the JTBD framework and how to navigate them. For those aiming to lead in innovation with a scientific and predictable approach, this discussion is the blueprint for success. So buckle in, and let us start our search for clarity. 

The Search for Clarity:
Youtube Channel: https://youtube.com/@thesearchforclarity?si=ISQgIOAojPJIxMOf

Executive & Leadership Coaching with Richard: www.coachingwithrichard.co.uk

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Unlock the secrets to market innovation with Tony Ulwick as we journey through the revolutionary Jobs to Be Done (JTBD) theory. Together, we map out a fresh approach to understanding consumer needs, defining success metrics, and segmenting markets based on the tasks customers are trying to accomplish. As we move beyond the traditional demographic methods, we reveal how identifying unmet needs using quantitative surveys can lead to groundbreaking innovation. This episode is essential listening for anyone eager to learn how to identify opportunities in areas where customer needs are not sufficiently addressed or are being met with excessive solutions, offering a clear avenue for improvement and efficiency.

Prepare to be equipped with the tools for implementing Outcome-Driven Innovation (ODI) strategies that could transform your organisation. Whether it's enhancing product development or refining customer service processes, the insights from this episode with Tony are invaluable. We examine the synergy of qualitative and quantitative research in shaping effective strategies and take you through initiating the ODI process via customer immersion sessions. We also discuss the challenges that may arise when adopting the JTBD framework and how to navigate them. For those aiming to lead in innovation with a scientific and predictable approach, this discussion is the blueprint for success. So buckle in, and let us start our search for clarity. 

The Search for Clarity:
Youtube Channel: https://youtube.com/@thesearchforclarity?si=ISQgIOAojPJIxMOf

Executive & Leadership Coaching with Richard: www.coachingwithrichard.co.uk

Richard de Kock:

Welcome to Part 2 of our podcast series with Tony Ulwick, the pioneer of job theory and inventor of outcome driven innovation. This is the final episode of our Tony Ulwick series and we are going to continue to dive down the rabbit hole of innovation in an attempt to demystify it and get clarity on what real innovation looks like. If you missed our previous session, I highly recommend going and trying to get a listen to that before you listen to this one. We covered a lot of ground in our previous episode and we covered topics like what innovation is and how it can be defined, how Tony developed the approach that he has and what sparked his thinking. We looked at the ideation approach to innovation and discussed how it was fundamentally flawed, and we finally got to hear where organisations should be focusing their efforts amidst all the noise around innovation today. So if you haven't heard any of that, then I suggest you go to www. thesearchforclarity. com or on your favourite podcast platform to go and listen to the episode before this one. Right? So today we are going to be delving deeper with Tony and trying to get more clarity around how the jobs to be done process actually works, how people can practically start implementing it, and we get to learn what the biggest challenges typically to adopting this approach have been for organisations and how those can be addressed. Before we start, of course, I just need to remind everyone that I'm a full-time Microsoft employee and that this podcast and the thoughts and ideas shared by myself, your host and my guest are in no way affiliated to Microsoft's business, products or services. And with that let's start our hunt for clarity.

Richard de Kock:

When we chatted previously to our call today, you mentioned that people think they need a water walker like the Steve Jobs or an Elon Musk to come up with these radical innovations to drive companies forward. So we don't need that. Innovation also doesn't need to be serendipitous and luck driven. What we need is a scientific, predictable approach to innovation, and this is what jobs to be done is really about. Now we've talked a lot about fragments of the process. Would you mind unpacking it for us and walking us through it so we could get a better understanding on how it works?

Tony Ulwick:

Sure, and you made an interesting point too. You said some organisations have a Steve Jobs or Elon Musk, but not all organisations have that person. But it doesn't mean you can't learn to think like those visionaries, and I really think that the Jobs we Done Framework helps people see through a lens that some people already see through, and I think that's the power of it.

Richard de Kock:

That's a very good point as well. Thank you.

Tony Ulwick:

And just to take you through the process very simply, it's like marketing 101. So the first thing we do is we define the market. We're going to define the market that you want to focus on as a group of people trying to get a job done. So it could be parents trying to pass on life lessons to children, or an interventional cardiologist trying to restore blood flow to an artery, or thousands of things. So that's how we define the market. And then we define the customer's needs. But we're not defining needs as exciters, delighters, pains, gains, this that it's quite specifically the metrics people use to measure success when getting a job done. So we would capture those 100 plus needs through immersion sessions with customers, and they're validating and giving us these inputs in real time. So now we have a set of needs. Now we want to figure out well, of all these needs, which ones are unmet. So this is where a quantitative element comes into play, where we would build a survey and include these 100 plus statements in the survey and ask people to tell us the importance of each outcome as they execute that job and the level of satisfaction given the products that they're using today. And we asked them what product they're using today too. So we know. We know that. So it's great competitive data as well. Now, from this we can figure out when the market's underserved. In other words, we can figure out which needs are really important and not well satisfied in the population, and we can also figure out which needs are unimportant and very satisfied in the population. Now, the reason both of those are important is because we're trying to help customers get the job done better and more cheaply. And the underserved now comes point to where you can get the job done better. The overserved outcomes point to where you can get the job done More cheaply. Right. So now, with that insight you can take the next step is to ask the question Is this a homogeneous market or are there segments of people with different unmet needs? And then nearly every study we've run over the years and it's been well over a thousand, nearly every time there's segments of people with different unmet needs, just like we learned in marketing 101, right, but the way we discover these is not to segment around demographics or psychographics or behavior, which is what we're inclined to do. Yes, and that's been, you know, the common practice for years. What we're going to do instead is segment around the unmet needs. So, for example, a third of the market might think, think that outcomes 1020 and 30 are really important and satisfied. Another third may think outcomes 40 1560 are really important, unsatisfied, and so on. So by segmenting around the needs is on that needs, you'll see a segment of people, a third of the market that has those. You know 1020, 30 is the I'm at need, another would 40, 1560, and then you can analyze these segments and say who are these people. You know, why are they different and and why do they have different unmet needs. So, for example, when we did this Segmentation for dentists we're trying to fill a cavity in patients we found different segments.

Tony Ulwick:

We found this highly underserved segment and we found there that when Patients had unhealthy gums and required a large filling, it was really hard to get the job done because visualization was more difficult to be bleeding, trying to keep the area dry, while contouring and bigger filling all became much more difficult. On the other side of the equation, we found an oversurfs segment and this was when this occurred, when the dentists were seeing patients that had healthy gums and required just a small filling. So the products that they were using for that group of people were over serving the market, right right. So now see what the important part here is. We're layering on the context after we segment around the needs, and this is you know. It's a bit confusing to a lot of people because they?

Richard de Kock:

because it goes against the grain in the sense that's not typically how you'd approach it.

Tony Ulwick:

Yeah, it's the opposite, right? So instead of segmenting around demographics and psychographics and then seeing what unmet needs they have and there was different Demographics we flip it around the other way. We segment around the other needs and it's very rare that a demographic characteristic really Explains why there's different unmet needs and why there's different segments. So that's very powerful and the reason is is because you know there's no average market, right? There's always segments of people with different unmet needs and if you try to create a product that addresses the needs of everybody generally, it will fail or be too complicated or cost too much. So knowing what these segments are is critical and from there, so think of what we've done so far. We've defined the market, figured out the needs, figured out which unmet, figured out what their segments of people with different unmet needs, right, marketing 101. The next step is we use the insights.

Richard de Kock:

And sorry, just to add, I think your publication really does a great job of sort of highlighting those quadrants of the types of strategies you would. Unless I'm jumping forward yet, Tony, I may be, I'm jumping forward. I'll keep quite your carry on.

Tony Ulwick:

No, you're right on target. You're right on target. That's exactly where we're at. It's a good segue because you know, once we have this information then we can figure out what strategy to pursue.

Tony Ulwick:

So that's exactly what you and we put this growth strategy matrix together. That's the one I'm talking about About three, four years ago yeah, I know it looks so simple. It took us three years to construct that and test it and make sure it actually is predictable and it is. I love that matrix and basically what it says is you know you create products to get a job done better and or more cheaply so you can get the job done better, potentially charge more if one of your segments is underserved and willing to pay more to get the job done better. So the research tells you, if that opportunity exists, then you can pick the strategy.

Tony Ulwick:

Or you may pick a disruptive strategy If there's an highly over-served segment and people are willing to pay less to get the job than worse. So we can test all that. And then, of course, if you can get the job done better and cheaper, that's we call it a dominant strategy and that always wins because you're satisfying the underserved segments, the over-served segments and often the non-consumers as well. So you could imagine, right, it's always advantageous for a company to come up with a solution that gets the job done better and cheaper. You know, much like Uber did with UberX, much like Netflix did you know they get into jobs that are better and cheaper than competitors. Who's not going to want that?

Richard de Kock:

Absolutely, yeah, absolutely. So, let's sort of make it practical for listeners out there. If an organization or an individual wants to get more of their innovation process, and even if you're working at lower rungs of the organization, I think we've highlighted through definitions before that innovation can be a simple improvement to a process.

Richard de Kock:

So if you're at a call center for argument sakes, you can look at the jobs to be done of people calling into the call center and you know they want to get something sorted out, you can focus on solutionizing that so that they get a better experience when they're calling the call center for argument sakes. So for anyone who's wanting to apply this book I mean I think it applies to everyone at any level of the organization how does one practically start adopting your approach? I mean I noticed in your book you did a great job of outlying sort of 84 step process that someone would have to go through to, you know, follow out your work and you call them ODI practitioners, outcome driven innovation practitioners. I mean, do you need to be a quality specialist and understand the use of statistics to the degree that you did when you defined the model?

Tony Ulwick:

That's a great question. I often get that and you know, the interesting thing about the process and innovation in general, it's that it's multi disciplined, right? So, as you think through that process, there's qualitative research, where you're interviewing customers. There's quantitative research, where you're surveying customers through a online instrument, there's data analytics that follow running segmentation, cluster and factor analysis, and then there's actual strategy formulation, you know, based on the data and trying to turn it into action. So, at a very high level, I say those are the four disciplines that it takes to to be successful, but it doesn't mean that one person has to be excellent in all four of those areas. Right, it may be four people, each having their own particular expertise, but to get started is actually rather simple. You know, we talk about this a lot in our courses, in our fundamentals class, and we call it the customer immersion session.

Tony Ulwick:

So you know, what I'd recommend to people is bring five or six customers into your office one day, or online or remotely so you don't have to wait, yeah and and and interview them and figure out from them what is the job they're trying to get done, how do they define it, what is the job at? How did they define it? You know how do they measure success. Let's collect those outcomes. In many cases, if you spend four or five hours with a set of customers Going through this process, you're basically teaching customers how to give you these inputs and you know, after they see the first few up on the board and they go oh, I get it, you're trying to get me to say stuff like you know, minimize the time it takes to do this or minimize the likelihood that that bad thing Happens, and so on. So, before you know it, they're, they're talking in your language and they're you know they're out of solution space and not talking about features. They're talking about jobs and outcomes and what we often see is, even within you know, four or five hour session, a team can go from not agreeing to what a customer need is To a place where they agree that here's 50 or 60 customer needs statements that are really well defined and validated on the spot by customers.

Tony Ulwick:

That's the starting point. Right, and even if you only complete the job map and that's why I think that HBR P said explains it. That's a great asset as well, because the job stable over time. You can start analyzing your products against the job app to say, you know, do any of my products get the entire job done? Do they hold the potential to To competitors products get the entire job done? Do they hold the potential? Are we, are we forcing people to iterate as they get the job done Because they're missing inputs upstream that are impacting the downstream activities? So all the stuff can be analyzed at a very high level and and improvements can be made starting day one.

Richard de Kock:

What? What do you think the biggest challenge to adopting this approach would be for organizations?

Tony Ulwick:

Well, what I? Obviously it's Made me misunderstanding of the process. I mean, there's a lot. There's many different approaches to Jobs be done. Some people talk about them from a demand generation standpoint, which is more about you know, people bought a product to get a job done. What job did they buy that product for? Let's go figure that out and then let's advertise to other people that they can buy that product to get that job done. So that's more of a good demand generation approach.

Tony Ulwick:

But you know we're talking more of you know, innovation approach. You know, let's, how do you create a product that people want to begin with right? So a lot of of what we propose is really about, you know, creating the right products and you know it fits into design thinking and agile Very nicely, you know, once you meet that up in the development process. But you know we're viewing everything upfront as let's make sure we're doing the right things right. Then we can do them right. But the right things mean we know that the product that we're about to put in development is Going to win in the marketplace because it gets the jobs on 15 to 20 percent better or more. We know that before we even begin development because we know all the emin needs, we know what our what feature sets gonna look like and we know the degree to which it's gonna impact customer satisfaction. So with that insight it makes it very hard to lose and that's really the the idea behind the whole approach.

Tony Ulwick:

You know, I thought a long time ago when I when the IBM thing happened, I thought if only we knew what metrics people were going to use to measure the success of our products when we were developing them. We could just design them around that metrics and we'd always win. Turns out that's true If you define metrics, as If you define those metrics, as you know, the metrics people use to measure success with getting a job done.

Richard de Kock:

But you mentioned another good point there that you know it's that it'll align your jobs to be done, framework etc. Alliance to you know agile and all these practices of execution. And I think an important point Is you know you can have some exceptional Job statements mapped out if you don't have Maturity in the way you execute. Against that from an operations perspective, like you know, best practice etc. You may, it's good. Comes back to the quality thing. If you're not building the quality of the product, yeah, even though you've picked up on the statements correctly, you're not necessarily going to knock that ball out the park, are you?

Tony Ulwick:

know. That's exactly right. Yeah, just because you know the needs doesn't mean you're going to effectively satisfy them, right? So it requires a great solution to address the need and then you have to go implement it. So, yeah, there's, but what we see mostly is that Companies know how to create products and they know how to implement it, but often they're just building the wrong products. You know they're not creating, they're not creating products to get the job done 15% better, cheaper, right?

Richard de Kock:

So we're going back to the old product what 1950s, where we'd build products and then like vacuum cleaners and then go knock on all the doors and say you really need this and Sort of shovel the products down people's throats until they buy them.

Tony Ulwick:

Yeah, it's interesting. You know what hasn't changed over time, though, since those early days. You know people still buying products to get jobs done and those companies who understand. You know how people measure success and can pinpoint with precision when to go create value. They're the winners in the marketplace.

Richard de Kock:

Yeah, absolutely so. If you had one key message to summarize your work over the the last Two decades, it's well, it's been a lot more than that, tony. Sorry, but I you know, over over your life, your entire life. What would your message be? To provide more clarity to people battling with innovation today.

Tony Ulwick:

Yeah, I'd say, you know, keep it simple.

Tony Ulwick:

Um people really want to complicate the space. Um, you know they talk about um innovation in so many different ways, as you mentioned, richard, to find in so many different ways. It sounds so complex. It really isn't, you know. It's coming up with solutions that address on that needs. It's helping people get a job, and better and more cheaply. It's just that simple and, um, if you can avoid all the rest of the noise that's preventing you from getting there, uh, you'll really uh streamline your innovation process. You know, we've we've viewed ODI as an end-to-end innovation process. It's not just the tool in the toolbox, it's uh, it's a big tool. It's in the toolbox because it's getting the whole front end of innovation and uh executed successfully.

Richard de Kock:

Well, thank you, tony, for your time. It's been exceptionally um, thought-provoking and uh, who are anyone who hasn't read Jobs to be Done or any of the um, harvard Business Review material, any of the other material published by Tony? It is highly recommended, really straightforward, very well laid out and extremely insightful and simple to use. I can see how it's something you could literally pick up and start using from day one, as you said, tony. So thank you for your time and, yeah, we hope to see more work coming out from you in the next couple of years.

Tony Ulwick:

Thank you, Richard I appreciate the opportunity.

Richard de Kock:

All the very best, thank you, tony, I know Thank you so much for joining part two of our two-part series with Tony Elwick. We were very fortunate to get a really pragmatic view from a pioneer like Tony, and I hope that this two-part series has provided a lot more clarity on the topic of innovation for you all Certainly has for me. You can get yourself a free copy of the Jobs to be Done book, which has been kindly provided by Tony and his team, and I will leave a link for that in the transcription which you can get at wwwthesarchforclaritycom. I look forward to having you join us again with our next guests in the next few weeks. Until then, keep the search for clarity continuing.

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