How to create a new product that people will want to buy

Product by:
Clayton Christensen, Karen Dillon, Taddy Hall and David Duncan

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On 9 October, 2016
Last modified:9 October, 2016

Summary:

Surveys and data about what people are asking for are poor predictors of what people will actually buy. To come up with a new product that people really are going to buy, you need to identify a job that people want doing, and create a product that does that job better than any alternative.

Innovation may never be a perfect science, but we have the ability to make innovation a reliable engine for growth, an engine based on a clear understanding of causality, rather than simply casting seeds in the hopes of one day harvesting some fruit, according to Clayton Christensen, Karen Dillon, Taddy Hall and David Duncan in their book Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice.

The book describes “Jobs Theory”, which provides a powerful way of understanding the causal mechanism of customer behaviour. Customers don’t just randomly buy products; they “hire” a product for a particular reason, because they have a job to be done which the product is best suited to perform. Jobs theory suggests that successful innovation includes the following elements:

  • Identifying and understanding a Job to be Done
  • Creating a “job spec” by identifying what will matter to the customer in solving his or her job
  • Using the job spec as a blueprint to translate the job into an actionable guide for innovation
  • Integrating your company’s internal capabilities and processes to nail the job consistently.

So does the book provide a sure-fire way to ensure your innovation is a success? Not necessarily. The authors have made a persuasive case about the importance of identifying a clear job that a new product will do before investing in developing that product, but you might still have to invest a lot of effort in letting customers know how your product can solve their “job to be done”.

Surveys and data about what people are asking for are poor predictors of what people will actually buy. To come up with a new product that people really are going to buy, you need to identify a job that people want doing, and create a product that does that job better than any alternative.

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