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6 things I’ve learned during a Jobs To Be Done interview

I want to share with my reflections after a two-sided Jobs-To-Be-Done (JTBD) interview with a classmate in the course “Disruptive Strategy”. I performed some interviews in the past to develop products and services based on the Strategyzer method Value Proposition Design, which includes the definition of jobs to be done, but it is the first time I perform an interview focusing only on the JTBD framework.

Key Takeaways

To give the reader more context, I interviewed my classmate regarding a new subscription to “Apple Music”. We’ve gone through several questions to understand the JTBD he was trying to solve and detect pains and gains before this purchase. Here is what I’ve learned after meditate on the interview process:

  • It is critical to understand the life context of the humans that drive to the real job to be done. Otherwise, we can mistake finding this one. At the beginning of our interview, it seemed that the job was more oriented to have the music streaming service with a wide variety of sounds. After starting to talk about his life changes (he began to travel more two years ago) and the first time he thought he should find another solution, we realized that the real functional job was linked to “travel in a disconnected environment” causality.
  • Telling examples of jobs you do, products you hire, and what are your emotional drivers to buy them, helps the interviewed person to be more open to talking. Illustrating and opening our feelings give the interviewed person the comfort they need to be more open to talking about emotions linked to the jobs, easing the task to empathize.
  • Discover what the hesitation points are to make the buying decision is a driver to understand what matters for the humans we are interviewing. That way, we can design a better product they hire to do the job.
  • As innovators, we should be persistent asking “why” to completely understand the underlying emotional and social job to be done. I should have asked more “why” to deepen even more in the emotions and social aspects.
  • Maybe the first JTBD you identified is not the real one. In our case, we identified the functional job “listen to music in an internet disconnected environment” (traveling in a plane). After deepening in the emotions, we’ve found that there is one emotional job related, that was the real reason my partner hired Apple Music: “help me feel better/happier while traveling by plane (listening to music)”. As human beings, there is almost always an underlying emotional job linked to the functional one that we should uncover in our interviews. Otherwise, we can mistake our solution if we solve the operational aspects but not the emotional and social underlying jobs.

Final thoughts

As this interview was oriented to educational purposes with a product that our partner just hired to do a job, it was easier to perform because he knew what he wanted and bought a product for that purpose. However, in a real-world interview to innovate a new product or service, we should deepen more if we wish to design a unique solution. A solution that hopefully does not exist. To solve the existing human problems for the job to be done in real-world interviews, we need more context and understanding that the one we have found in this interview. For that to happen, I stress the importance of asking questions that leads us to the “why”, helping us to unveil the root JTBD.

Empathize will not only help in our day to day life to be better human beings but will help us to be better innovators.

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