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Putting Theory Into Practice Part 8: The Hypotheses Under Test

We have covered a lot, perhaps more information than need but I wanted to demonstrate the flow of the process, starting with an interesting idea and framing a business opportunity using “jobs-to-be-done” marketing lens, business model canvas and the Reverse P&L to identify key assumptions.  Most of the work we have done thus far relied on internal gut feel (abductive reasoning), secondary research and some informal primary research (i.e. talking informally with potential job executers and other thought leaders to get their initial insights).

So here’s the set of hypothesis we might have come up with for Teknovantage’s (our fictitious company) location aware hand tools:

Preliminary Customer Value Proposition: Location aware hand tools will help workers stop losing tools  and increase productivity .

  1. Losing tools during construction projects is a real pain and time waster worth solving

  2. The wide spread deployment of WSN modules for industrial applications will enable new applications including location sensors for simple objects like tools and supplies

  3. We can drive initial demand by creating our own set of high-quality “location aware” tools to seed the market

I included a hypothesis that as wireless sensors start getting adopted by the market, new and exciting product opportunities will follow – this in fact was part of real research iNPD did for client for a real product concept that we loosely based Teknovantage’s concept on. A  free copy of the report “Wireless Sensor Adoption Study Key Findings” is available at

In our real case example the product concept was even more “new” – or to put differently – less understood and thus less obvious.  This is one of the reasons we wanted to use “job-to-be-done” marketing lens to explore the market’s reaction and feedback. We knew we wouldn’t get a lot of useful information by asking participants:

“What would you think if you had a hand tool that you could never lose?  Would that be a product you would like?”

We also knew that we had to find a set of subjects that represented some non-biased cross sections of the job executers and consumption chain participants.

It would have been very easy to find a list of people we talked to at the last “Internet of Things” conference and ask them what they thought about using wireless sensors to track objects. No doubt we would have gotten lots of ideas and probably positive feedback – but how useful is that information?  After all we would be talking to people who are already visionaries, exploring the same issues we are – is this a great idea or a solution looking for a problem?  In other words they are already drinking the kool-aide. While their answers might pump us up – the information will be favorably biased.

Ultimately our objective for conducting our VoC research is to gain insights as to the level of satisfaction our test subjects are achieving in executing their jobs. What are the specific outcomes and desired results they want to achieve and why aren’t they getting the results they desire? What’s constraining them? Under what circumstances? And what is their ultimate definition of success?

Now that we have identified the objectives of our VoC research, we can now design and create a research project to answer the key Jobs-To-Be-Done questions. Topics for our next series of blogs.

Talk to you soon and keep an open mind to learning new insights as you observe the world around you.


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