“Jobs to be Done: Theory to Practice” by Anthony Ulwick

“What is the value of Jobs-to-be-Done Theory and how do you put the theory into practice?”

That’s a question we’ve been hearing for 25 years.

Introducing:  JOBS TO BE DONE: Theory to Practice  (IDEA BITE PRESS, October 25, 2016).

Why do so many innovation projects fail? What are the root causes of failure? How can they be avoided?

Since 1990, Tony Ulwick has pioneered a strategy and innovation process that answers these questions. In 1999, Tony introduced Clayton Christensen to his process and the idea that “people have underlying needs or processes in their lives, that they are addressing in some way right now”—an insight that was to become Jobs-to-be-Done Theory.

For 25 years, Ulwick and his company, Strategyn, have helped over 400 companies succeed with their innovation initiatives, applying Jobs-to-be-Done Theory in practice with a success rate of 86%—a five-fold improvement.

Tony’s last book, What Customer Want, introduced his Outcome-Driven Innovation® (ODI) process. Now, for the first time, Ulwick reveals the details behind his proprietary innovation process in JOBS TO BE DONE: Theory to Practice (IDEA BITE PRESS, October 2016).



JOBS TO BE DONE: Theory to Practice takes the theory and the ODI process to the next level. This book reveals:

  • Why companies fail at innovation and how to avoid the two most critical mistakes that companies make.
  • How to employ the Jobs-to-be-Done Theory Needs Framework to categorize, define, capture, organize and prioritize customer needs.
  • The Jobs-to-be-Done Growth Strategy Matrix—a tool that fills in the holes in disruptive innovation theory, and other innovation theories, by examining them through a Jobs lens. It defines and reveals which of the 5 growth strategies to pursue in a given situation.
  • Improvements to the Outcome-Driven Innovation process—and how the process ties customer-defined metrics to the customer’s Job-to-be-Done, transforming every aspect of opportunity discovery, marketing and innovation.
  • Outcome-Based Segmentation: what is it and how it uncovers hidden opportunities for growth.
  • The 84 steps associated with the ODI process, revealing in detail what it takes to turn Jobs Theory into practice.
  • A three-phased approach that a company can use to build a competency in innovation.
  • The Language of Job-to-be-Done – the syntax and lexicon of innovation.

The book also includes six case studies of companies that applied the Outcome-Driven Innovation process and achieved impressive results.


The book is written for:

  • C-level executives (particularly the CEO, CMO)
  • Senior decision-makers and strategy managers
  • Leaders interested in business growth
  • Innovation practitioners
  • Brand Managers
  • Product Managers
  • Designers and UX professionals


Anthony Ulwick has taken the guesswork out of innovation. For 25 years he has worked to guide companies to success. He has done this by introducing us to Jobs-to-be-Done theory, and converting it to practice using his rigorous innovation process known as Outcome-Driven Innovation.

The vast majority of innovation projects fail. With Ulwick’s process we finally learn what the best know already – innovation cannot be left to chance. It can and should be managed for successful outcomes.

I call him the Deming of Innovation because, more than anyone else, Tony has turned innovation into a science.”

Philip Kotler
S. C. Johnson Distinguished Professor of International Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University


“We are committed devotees. Our innovation teams have seen the Outcome-Driven Innovation process work not just once, but over and over again. Without a doubt, it brings predictability to innovation and contributes to growth.”

Clive Meanwell
Chief Executive Officer, Chairman, The Medicines Company


“In What Customers Want, Tony Ulwick redefined how innovators think about their customers. His importance and satisfaction framework for a customer’s “jobs to be done” has influenced a generation of marketing and innovation professionals. Now with Jobs to be Done: Theory to Practice, we get the refined version, based on a decade of Tony’s learnings applying the framework.”

Michael Wynblatt
Ph.D., Vice President of Innovation, Ingersoll Rand


“Outcome-Driven Innovation’s customer-centric approach to innovation and product design helps us define and address truly important client challenges. That additional clarity further enables us to develop and deliver solutions that provide real customer value, as well as deep, ongoing benefits to my organization and me. Our understanding of client needs and how to gain insight into those needs has been greatly improved.”
Alex Johnson
System Architect – Next Generation Systems of Process Automation, Schneider Electric


“I’ve had the privilege to work with Tony and his team across two different organizations. Each time he has elevated our thinking and brought us a way to drive innovation that is radically different from traditional methods. It has been a great journey watching our team think and act with a focus on customer-centric outcomes.”
Frank Grillo
Chief Marketing Officer, Harte Hanks


”Jobs Theory and Outcome-Driven Innovation have proven to be highly valuable in the development of innovative pharmaceuticals. A focus on the ‘job’ brings clarity to the complex healthcare delivery process and reveals hidden opportunities to positively impact the patients’ pathway to health.”
Simona Skerjanec

Lifecycle Leader – Neuroscience, Roche


“Outcome-Driven Innovation unlocks unique insights into your customers and their challenges. It impacts revenue growth through new product development and identification of new customer segments.”
Joe Camaratta

Managing Director, MedTech Playbook


“Jobs-to-be-Done Theory and Outcome-Driven Innovation provide absolute clarity for strategic growth initiatives and product innovation. There is no better way to put yourself in your customers’ shoes.”
Steve Thompson

Vice President of Business Strategy, National Oilwell Varco


“Acquiring technologies for developing new medical products has always been an exercise in trying to guess correctly. ODI has provided us with an enabling technology shopping list we can execute with confidence. ODI makes Business Development far more precise.”
Sean Thompson, MS, MBA, CLP
Sr. Director, Business Operations & New Product Development, GenCure 


“The Jobs-To-Be-Done approach drove within us a heightened focus on our customers. We discovered important and often “unspoken” customer needs. Even in established markets, we gained new insights enabling stronger value propositions, more impactful customer communications, and innovation better aligned with market needs.”
David Rusinko
Director Strategic Marketing, Momentive


“The ODI process provides broad and detailed customer insights that are superior to typical market research methods and critical to developing better solutions for customers. ODI helped us understand a new space and identify the underserved needs so we could enter a new market in a differentiated manner.”

Brian Craig
VP of Strategy and Business Development, Surgical Innovations, Medtronic



We hope to shed light on what makes innovation projects succeed, sharing with you the insights, the process, and the results of our practice over the past 25 years.