Focus on customer choice and experience to uncover great ways to innovate.
Without a doubt, putting yourself in someone else’s shoes will improve your listening, communication, and understanding. It will facilitate your problem-solving and success – at work and beyond.
Employ Empathic Discovery
“Most of what companies know about their customers tends to be descriptive and data driven: who they are, where they live, what they’ve purchased, how long they’ve been a customer, etc… There may be a segmentation analysis that groups customers by attitudes, etc… However, in most cases, there is no rigorous framework for personifying customers in a way that builds empathic understanding. This includes structured ways to answer: who are these people, what are the situations they’re in, what’s important to them and what are they trying to accomplish, how do they evaluate alternatives and make choices, what do they do outside of the limited set of contacts with our business, and what emotional states influence behavior?”
Compete Against Luck with Our November Book Feature
Innovation is often described as a messy process in which a company sometimes stumbles upon something that gets the interest of its customers.
“Customers rarely buy what the company thinks it is selling them.” – Peter Drucker.
Why do so many attempts to innovate fail? Why is creating successful new products the exception, not the norm?
According to Harvard Professor Clayton Christensen, the reason is that companies do not ask the right questions. In Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice, Christensen presents a tool to help you in that process: Jobs To Be Done.
Legendary Harvard Marketing Professor Theodore Levitt explains: “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!” The Jobs Theory is a way to find what the “quarter-inch hole” is for your customers.
The key question becomes: Why do your customers hire your product or service? The Jobs Theory helps you relate to your customers and understand why they pull products into their lives.
Before the book was published, Guerric had the chance to have a conversation with Karen Dillon, co-author of Competing Against Luck, and we can surely say: All four authors know what their customers want.