The Key to Innovation Success

By focusing on the core functional job the customer is trying to execute and studying it as you would study a process, it becomes possible to uncover the metrics that customers use to measure success and value as they execute each step in that job. These metrics are included in specially formed need statements we call “desired outcomes.”

While defining the functional job correctly is important, uncovering the customer’s desired outcomes (the metrics they use to measure success when get the job done) is the real key to success at innovation.

To uncover the customer’s desired outcomes, we dissect the core functional job into its component parts (job steps) using a job map. The job map becomes the framework from which to capture desired outcome statements.

Desired outcome statements explain precisely how customers measure success and value as they go through each step of the core functional job. They describe how it is possible to get the job done more quickly, predictably, efficiently and without waste. It is common to find that between 50 and 150 desired outcomes statements are applicable to the core functional job. For example, when trying to listen to music, a listener may want to “minimize the time it takes to get the songs in the desired order for listening”, or “minimize the likelihood that the music sounds distorted at high volume”.

We follow a strict set of rules when constructing desired outcome statements—for example, they are purposely designed and structured to be measurable, controllable, actionable, devoid of solutions, and stable over time. They are also structured so they can be prioritized for importance and satisfaction using statistically valid market research methods.

While getting the core functional job done, it may be important to the end user to get other functional jobs done as well. Knowing what those related jobs are is important as it can lead to the creation of a platform-level solution that gets many jobs done. It is not uncommon to find that 5 to 20 related jobs might be on the mind of the end user.

While making a presentation, for example, a knowledge worker may want to emphasize a point projected on a screen, advance slides, time the presentation, or shut off the projector. Enabling the execution of all these related jobs done on a single platform describes how the telescopic pointer of years ago has evolved into today’s wireless presenter device. Its value increased as it enabled the presenter to get more related jobs done.


In addition, it may also be important to the end user to address important emotional and social jobs.

Emotional jobs define how customers want to feel or avoid feeling as a result of executing the core functional job.

Social jobs define how the customer wants to be perceived by others.

For example, a parent who is trying to pass on life lessons to children may want to “feel appreciated” (an emotional job) and “be perceived as a caring parent” (a social job).

Emotional and social job statements are used to help inform the decisions that lead to the creation of the value proposition and the effective marketing, positioning, and design of a product or service.

It is not uncommon to find that 5 to 25 emotional and social jobs may be on the mind of the end user when executing the core functional job.

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JOBS TO BE DONE: Theory to Practice
by Anthony Ulwick
IDEA BITE PRESS October 25, 2016