An Alternative Job Statement Construct To Further Your Discovery Of Important Jobs People Want Done
In my last article, I presented a “job-statement” construct that defines specific jobs that people want to get done. Recall that a job statement captures the essence of the job a person “executes” to achieve a desired outcome. It defines who the job executor is, what problem or objective (desired outcome) she is trying to get done, and the circumstances she faces in executing the job.
The job statement construct presented in the last article looks like this:
[Customer] wants to [solve a problem] in [this circumstance]
Revisiting the example form the last article of traveling from point A to point B, we discovered that describing the job as “people want to travel from point A to point B” is too vague to provide any real insights as to what people want. So we dug a bit further into the circumstance people face in going from point A to point B, and hypothesized that “an” important job people want done is:
Adults in metropolitan areas want the ability to visit friends and run errands within an hour commute from their homes, at their own leisure.
Notice I enclosed “an” in parenthesis. The reason is that there could be multiple jobs people are trying to get done. The context in which people are trying to execute a job, heavily influences the ultimate solution they will hire to get the job done. Thus the example above is only “a” job people want to get done.
The job statement above may be a great opportunity we can innovate around. But before we start researching and validating this specific job, we should try to uncover other jobs that may be just as important, but not as obvious.
Note: at this stage we are not trying to validate the accuracy of the job statement. Rather we are trying to focus our lens on where we will explore to discover and define opportunities worth solving using the jobs-to-be-done innovation method. So keep an open mind, and let the ideas flow freely.
An alternative job statement construct
An action verb – object of action – contextual clarifier
This alternative job statement construct provides a slightly different way of defining important jobs. You may find this job statement construct simpler, and perhaps less extensive, than the job statement construct presented in my last article.
This simpler construct makes it easier for us to brainstorm various aspects of the jobs and related jobs people are trying to get done. We do this by creating a list of possible job statements what we will investigate in our research and discover phases.
Let’s take a look at our job visiting friends and running errands on the weekend.
Here are some jobs we might come up with when we think about why do people want to travel locally from point A to point B:Action Verb Object of ActionContextual ClarifierVisitmy friendwho lives within driving distancePick upgroceries and laundrylater this afternoonRidemy motorcyclethis weekendFinda parking spacewhen I get to my destinationAvoidtrafficthis weekend
We can see that there are multiple jobs people are trying to get done by traveling locally from point A to point B. Some of these jobs naturally flow and link together. For example visiting my friend and then picking up groceries are related jobs that could be solved by hiring (i.e. using) an automobile.
While others may be for a total different purpose than we imagined from our initial understanding. For example, “ride my motorcycle this afternoon” might get the emotional job of “enjoying the thrill of riding my motorcycle.” A motorcycle is a means to enjoy the day, experiencing a thrill, visit a friend, and making a statement about oneself. But a motorcycle is probably not a good means to do serious grocery shopping.
The important takeaway is that traveling from point A to point B is just a means to get an important job done. As we discussed last time, there isn’t enough information in “traveling from point A to point B” to innovate around.
We need to do think deeper
Why do customers want to go from point A to point B in the first place? In our example, it is to visit a friend and then run errands. We could say then there are two distinct jobs a person wants to get done:
1) Spend social time with a friend 2) Get some specific errands done
If we focused our innovation on these jobs – perhaps traveling from point A to point B is no longer required. For example, we could satisfy our social need using social media or other virtual reality solution. And perhaps we could shop online and have our groceries delivered to us at home.
The innovation team will need to explore and brainstorm various job statements that capture the essence of the core job under investigation. As we discover and learn more, we iterate and hone in on an important jobs people want done. In my next article, we will look at “job scoping” to both broaden our innovation focus, or narrow the focus on jobs at an actionable level.
Which construct is best for you?
It really depends on your ability to distill the key essence of the job that is being done. My advice is to play with both constructs and use the job statement or statements that best captures the true core job. The job statement or statements will become clearer as we engage real people with real problems.
Keep an open mind and remember to stay solution independent as to not miss the undiscovered obvious.