Customer-Focused Innovation
Jobs-to-be-done in action

Focus on the winning ideas

Customer-Focused Innovation (CFI)  is a systematic innovation approach to identify and sharpen winning ideas and concepts with Jobs-to-be-done. Designed and co-created over the past 20 years with more than 50 clients, successfully applied over 100 times. 

CFI helps to:

  • Define customer-focused strategies that win in the market

  • Prioritize ideas and roadmaps from the customers view

  • Sharpen concepts and value propositions 

  • Establish a measurable, statistically robust customer need fact base

CFI is powered by the Jobs-to-be-done logic, the most powerful way to reframe businesses and innovation ideas from the customer view.

 

Vendbridge is a pioneer and thought leader in Jobs-to-be-done for more than 20 years, having worked with knowledge experts in the field such as Clayton Christensen, Tony Ulwick from Strategyn or Design thinkers of the Hasso Plattner Institute.

The 4 phases of CFI

Need focused

Frame

Discover

Jobs-to-be-done framing

Job Metric system

Quantiative Validation

Solution focused

Spin

Develop

Spin ideas to pain points

Customer advocacy

Jobs-to-be-done hierarchy

Jobs-to-be-done hierarchy

Jobs-to-be-done exploration
Job Journey Navigator
Value Map
Pain Matching
Value Proposition

Jobs-to-be-done exploration

Job Journey Navigator

Value Map

Pain Matching

Value Proposition

Customer insight

Customer insight

1. Frame

Your business challenge is framed from the customers view. The source of growth is defined on target group level and our Jobs-to-be-done Hierarchy  tool enables to look  from the customers' angle, and not from the technology, solution or company angle. 

More about Framing 

2. Discover

Discover creates a Customer Metrics system via  qualitative research and measures innovation opportunities in a statistically robust quantitative way.

The Customer Value Map reveals Pain Points and Essentials by personas, the Job Journey Navigator  guides innovation and product development to the most relevant opportunities along the customer journey.

More about Discover

3. Spin

Spin refocuses ideas, strategies and innovation concepts on unmet customer needs and sharpens the best ideas from the  customer perspective.

 

The Pain Matching  tool identifies the winning ideas. The Value Proposition Canvas creates compelling propositions to convince internal stakeholders and to sell the innovation to the market.

More about Spin

4. Develop

Customer Advocacy  keeps the customer in the loop during development. Development teams remain focused on what the customers really want. 

More about Develop

Framing the business challenge from the customers perspective with the Jobs-to-be-done Hierarchy

In Framing we help to switch from the inside-out company perspective to the outside-in customer perspective. We clarify the business intention and identify the source of growth via defining the relevant target groups. 

 

Our proprietary tool - the Jobs-to-be-done Hierarchy - helps to frame the Job. It moves the focus from business goal and technology to an authentic customer need reality.

For example, a food company wants to innovate its ready-made food products like pizzas or frozen vegetables in order to refuel growth. That's the business intention. The Jobs-to-be-done hierarchy looks at it from a different angle: The customer wants to "feed the family" and goes through several solution-agnostic steps to achieve that goal. 

In short, framing is about understanding the business intention, defining the target group and framing the job-to-be-done.

jtbd hierarchy.jpg
Jobs-to-be-done hierarchy
 

Discover and measure the customers Pain Points

In Discover, we uncover the customer realities and identify actionable pain points and innovation opportunities in a statistically robust way. 

Unlike other exploration approaches, we use sophisticated interview techniques to nail between 50 - 100 Customer Metrics that represent the expectations customers have when trying to get a Job done. Then CFI  validates this metric system quantitatively in order to highlight the innovation opportunities. 

Here is an example of a Customer Metric  for the Job "To feed my family":

Exploration technique

To estimate as precisely as possible

if the family will like it

when cooking a new dish

Unit

Expected result

Context

While the Customer Metric system highlights the full scope of expectations, the quantitative validation prioritizes and ranks the metrics by relevance. The most relevant Pain Points by customer profiles become clear and serve as opportunities for value-add innovation. 

We use state-of-the art market research methods, e.g.  online or CATI surveys, whereby real customers rate Customer Metrics in terms of importance and fulfillment (with current solution). This provides an objective decision basis of how relevant an unmet need in a market is and which unsolved customer problems should be addressed.

Proprietary CFI tools analyze the data in two different ways. The Vendbridge Jobs-Journey Navigator  highlights opportunities along the customer journey for different personas.

Here is an example of a Job-Journey Navigator for the Job "Feed my family":

Job Journey Navigator

Importance

Fulfilment

Opportunity

N = 360

The Vendbridge Value Map analyzes the data from a birds eye perspective and clearly indicates which customer needs are Pain Points (important, but not fulfilled) and which are Essentials (important, but fulfilled).

Example of a Value Map for the job "Feed my family": 

In short, Discover detects actionable unmet needs of customer stakeholders and innovation opportunities outside-in, from the customer perspective.

Value Map
Journey Navigator
Value Map
 

Spin the winning ideas

Spin is a unique step of CFI. Spin  matches ideas, innovation concepts and projects with the identified pain points.  

 

A key tool in Spin is Pain Matching. It matches Pain Points with ideas via an involving process amongst internal stakeholders. The tool Idea Tinder provides an engaging way of bringing internal views and the customer view together. Here an example of Pain Matching:

Pain Matching
Pain Matching

Initiatives that address Pain Points are accelerated (e.g. feature 2), those that do not are deprioritized (e.g. feature 1). Winning features are identified with minimal effort in an engaging, fact-driven way. See also here:Hero features for a teacher software, how the swiss railway identified the winning ideas

An innovation idea is a delicate plant and can easily be killed. That's why we emphasize internal selling of the idea via an inspiring value proposition. Our Value Proposition Canvas creates a direct link between the customer perspective and the company or product perspective via a compelling promise. We call it Promise-Centered Value Proposition Design.

 

A Promise-Centered Value Proposition is a strategic document summarized in a one-page narrative. This promise is embedded in a compelling story to convince the customer to leave existing habits and adopt a new behaviors, e.g. an innovative solution.

The Promise-Centered Value Proposition Canvas:

 

 

In short, Spin selects ideas and focuses initiatives on customer needs, thereby allowing faster development and higher market adoption.

Value Proposition
Value Proposition
 

Keep the customer-focus during development

Once teams and organizations turn back to solution development there are many pitfalls that the gained understanding of customer needs are not followed. Internal biases and technology view take again over.

 

Customer Advocacy  helps to keep the customers at the table. CFI provides tools and workshop formats during project stage gate reviews,  prototyping sessions, user testing and development in general. 

An example of such a tool is the Job-based User Test. Instead of confronting users with a prototype solution, thereby risking non-actionable feedback, CFI frames the sessions from a JTBD angle and asks users in the context of the Job they wish to achieve.   

Customer insight
 
 

The importance of understanding the job – by Clayton Christensen

The core idea of Jobs-to-be-done is encapsulated in Levitt’s seminal quote «Customers don’t want a drill, they want a hole in the wall». Of course, the hole in the wall is not what customers want either. If you’re asking yourself this question, you’ve already understood what Jobs-to-be-done is about: Shift the focus away from the solutions to the job customers want to achieve. It is thanks to the work of Clayton Christensen and many others that the term Jobs-to-be-done has become even more popular in the field of innovation. He made Jobs-to-be-done famous by using they hire/fire metaphor: What job do customers hire your product for and why do they fire it for another solution?

 

A deeper understanding of the job helps to create solutions that customers truly want. Instead of developing solutions that innovators like, we start thinking about how to help customers to do their job better. Only when innovators know this, they can critically think about solutions and ideas. Jobs remain stable over time, while solutions change faster and faster.

For more than 20 years Vendbridge has applied Jobs-to-be-done in over 100 successful innovation projects in various industries

Jobs-to-be-done history and our involvement

  • Ted Levitt, professor for marketing at Harvard Business School, coins the quote "people don't want a drill, but a hole in the wall" in the 1960ies. His ground-breaking HBR article Marketing Myopia revolutionized consumer goods marketing 

  • Peter Drucker, legendary management thinker, first used the term Jobs-to-be-done in 1985  in Innovation and Entrepreneurship 

  • In the 90ies, Beat Walther and Stephan Peyer, co-founders of Vendbridge, comes into contact with early forms of Jobs-to-be-done thinking at Procter & Gamble and Unilever

  • 2002: Roger Chevalier, who will later create CFI together with Beat Walther, starts working with Tony Ulwick from Strategyn to develop and improve ODI (Outcome-Driven Innovation) on international projects

  • 2003: Clayton Christensen publishes "Innovator's Solution" and brings Jobs-to-be-done to innovation 

  • 2006: Vendbridge starts to cooperate with Roger Chevalier and the ODI methodology on projects for banking, medical devices and agro-chemicals 

  • 2007: Yann Wermuth, today partner at Vendbridge, joins Roger Chevalier and works on applying and refining ODI 

  • 2009: the group departs from Strategyn / ODI and creates CFI in order to make the concept more actionable whilst continuing serving international global and Swiss clients in various industries   

  • 2015: Alex Osterwalder, author of the Business Model Canvas, publishes Value Proposition Canvas, making  Jobs-to-be-done known to a greater audience in innovation and design thinking

  • 2020: Triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic and based on more than 100 projects with 50plus clients, CFI becomes a more structured, more predictable process supported by digital technology

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