In this episode of the Idea to Value podcast, we speak with Tony Ulwick, CEO of Strategyn and the person who introduced the world to the Jobs to be Done theory of innovation.

Topics covered in this episode:

  1. His initial experience of failure at IBM with the PC Junior and how it triggered the search for the process to find out what people wanted (01:00)
  2. What causes a disconnect between what companies expect people want, and how the market actually reacts (05:00)
  3. What is a customer need and how to define it (05:30)
  4. How Tony introduced Outcome-Driven Innovation to Professor Clayton Christensen, and how this became the Jobs to be done theory (07:00)
  5. What exactly is Jobs to be done theory? (09:00)
  6. Most innovations struggle because they only get part of a job done, not the entire job (10:30)
  7. How Jobs to be done can be used to both discover new markets, or improve offerings in an existing market (12:00)
  8. How even though in an overall average market there might not appear to be any needs, if you segment the market you might find pockets of people with specific needs (who are more underserved than anyone else) which would also benefit other users (14:00)
  9. Why ideal avatars don’t actually exist in reality (17:00)
  10. How to use metrics and analysis to determine if there is a large enough market for these unmet needs (18:30)

Links mentioned in this episode:


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Creativity & Innovation expert: I help individuals and companies build their creativity and innovation capabilities, so you can develop the next breakthrough idea which customers love. Chief Editor of and Founder / CEO of Improvides Innovation Consulting. Coach / Speaker / Author / TEDx Speaker / Voted as one of the most influential innovation bloggers.