The Jobs to be Done Wheel of Progress

Jobs to be Done continues to play a part in almost every training engagement and piece of client work that I do.  The simplicity of the idea that we can find opportunities for (digital) innovation and transformation by focusing on the customer needs and motivations instead of trying to improve the product, remains attractive (and perhaps bizarrely still seems new for most of the people we work with).

I have worked, as part of my job with Hyper Island, with banks, logistic companies, retailers and brands recently and taught interviewing techniques, job statement creation, customer experience mapping and evaluation marketing and communication through the JTBD lens.  In these sessions we have used a range of tools and techniques including my Jobs to be Done: learning to interview customer Cards, journey maps and job statement templates.  I’m always on the lookout for new tools and was delighted to receive The Wheel of Progress from my German friend,  card translator and fellow JTBD enthusiast, Eckhart Boehme.

The Wheel of Progress

Eckhart has created a new workshop exploration template, thinking through the stages in a job solving/solution finding process. It is wonderfully simple and surprisingly deep at the same time. At first glass it replaces the JTBD Purchase Timeline that many of us have used for years.  By being circular it reminds us that jobs are rarely done for ever awaiting the next technological leap that will allow the same job to be solved in another better way.

The four quadrants of the wheel focus on the same four phases as the Purchase Timeline but they have been renamed Awareness, Expectations, Trade-offs and Experience.  I like this rewording because it moves us away from the more product (and less service) vocabulary of Passive Looking, Active Looking, Deciding and Consuming.  

The biggest breakthrough in the Wheel is the way it allows more focus on these individual phases.  I particularly like the idea of considering trade-offs in the deciding quadrant.  I do have a slight concern from my own JTBD interviews that sometimes these trade-offs are rationalised after the decision has been made.  Daniel Kahneman reminds us that the gut is often in charge and only later do we justify to ourselves how we made the right (rational) choice. Sometimes, especially when we do interviews, it is the aha moment when the customer reveals their real underlying motivation that provides the biggest insight (and opportunities for innovation) and often they surprise themselves when they realise how important this need was to their decision. 

The third quadrant includes exploration of the pains and gains for the customer (another familiar model from the value proposition canvas) and supports discussion about how well a solution solves the customer job.

I was particularly excited (of course) that Eckhart had mapped my/our JTBD cards to the canvas.  This reassures me that the breadth of the questions in the pack addresses the whole of Eckhart’s progress journey but also highlights where further questions could be asked.  The Wheel and the cards have different functions: one allows a group to explore the progress journey while the other focusses on encouraging a JTBD way of thinking when listening to customers. They work well together as part of a JTBD Toolkit.

I will use the Wheel in my own workshops in the coming months and will report back.

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