By: research has shown that the most successful innovators often employ at least one of the three tried-and-true innovation methods that I discuss below.
Jobs to be Done (JTBD). The first key to disrupting an industry is to relentlessly focus on what your customers need. And while that may sound trite by now, only 9% of new product ideas actually address a clear customer struggle. Instead, companies often focus on one-upping their competitors’ feature sets, relying on what customers say they need (rather than exploring unarticulated needs), and attempting to emulate companies that have been successful in the past. Don’t get me wrong — maybe there’s value in being the Uber of whatever your product category is. But only if that on-demand model responds to an under-satisfied job that the customer is trying to get done.
That’s where JTBD comes in. The Jobs to be Done model looks at research to examine over 5,000 innovations over a 15-year time period to determine what makes an innovation successful. A small but important finding is that successful innovation is hard. In that study, the aggregate success rate — where innovations returned their cost of capital — was only 4.5%. The game changers were key; 2% of the innovations explored delivered 90% of the value of all of the innovations studied.
So what was different about those 2%? Rather than just innovating the product, the most successful innovations leverage 6 or more different types of innovation, including efforts related to the offering (the product), the configuration (the system for turning the product into a business), and the experience (the customer’s journey of discovery, purchase, and use). And while it’s important to innovate across multiple domains, the biggest opportunities are generally anchored around the profit model and the customer engagement bucket. Companies that focus there can truly change the game.
All of the research shows that innovation is hard. No matter the metric, the vast majority of innovation efforts do not end in success. But the vast majority of innovation efforts are also done poorly. They don’t focus on the jobs customers are trying to get done, they end up increasing cost and complexity faster than they increase value, and they focus heavily on the product at the expense of other more valuable opportunities to innovate. The companies that avoid these common pitfalls have a much higher success rate when it comes to innovation.
Jobs to be Done: A Roadmap for Customer-Centered Innovation.
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