Scott Anthony led Discussion Forum on Customer Centricity in a time of dislocation focusing on the “Jobs-to-be-done” theory


On April 29th, IE Center for C-Centricity held a virtual Discussion Forum on the topic of Customer centricity in a time of dislocation: how Clayton Christensen’s “jobs-to-be-done” theory can help during and after the Covid-19 crisis

The session was led by  Scott Anthony, Senior Partner at Innosight, the management consulting firm specializing in business growth strategy founded by Clayton Christensen. Scott is one of Harvard Business Review’s most prolific contributor and one of the global leaders with the strongest experience in applying the jobs to be done concept across different sectors and business types.

Scott started by stating that customers rarely buys what the company thinks. They do not buy a product but a solution to a problem and, after all, satisfaction.  That is, people want a hole, not a drill.

The theory says:

A job to be done is the problem that a person is trying to solve in a particular circumstance. Jobs have FUNCTIONAL, SOCIAL and EMOTIONAL dimensions and capture your stakeholders’ DEFINITIONS OF QUALITY”

Jobs have the following characteristics:

Drive to the deeper motivation underlying a need

Focus on the customer and not on the product or the category

Tend to be long-standing rather than temporaryç

Expand the view on competition. For example, “a glass of wine is a legitimate competitor of Netflix” as both are solutions when it comes to relaxing.

Leveraging this theory provides an excellent aid to navigate the extraordinary circumstances created by our current crisis. In doing that, Scott suggested looking to the four areas of a ‘job spec’ to identify how big events drive short-term and lasting job-to-be-done dislocation:

How do new circumstances affect available solutions? i.e. Meetings and conferences

What new barriers impact decision pathways and priorities? i.e Telemedicine

How do customers rearrange how they define quality? i.e. contactless payment

What new solutions get the job done in a sustainably better way? i.e. online education

Looking at the situation created by COVID 19 through the lens of the “jobs to be done” theory will certainly help to identify changes in customer needs as the key starting point to get organizations working in how to solve them.It is true that the crisis we are confronting now brings unprecedented challenges in the economic scenario but history also shows us how tough times can bring opportunities to grow. “Every dark cloud has a silver lining”.

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