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Product Orientation Leads To Red Ocean Battles – Whereas a “Jobs” Orientation Leads To Blue Oceans

A major challenge companies have, especially successful companies paradoxically, is the propensity to become focused on the product/solution dimensions and compete nose to nose with competitors along similar technical vectors.

Product and competitive centric focus ultimately leads to  “me-too” products and red ocean competition – a bloody battlefield at best. Whereas focusing innovation around important jobs to be done (J2BD) creates new perspectives that lead to novel solutions that otherwise would be dismissed because by definition, novel product concepts don’t fit the current business mold, and thus are viewed as distractions.

As a result, many promising ideas get killed  off too early in the innovation cycle in favor of focusing on known products and proven solutions – “safe bets” if you will. This strategy eventually leads to a portfolio of “me-too” products that end up competing on price leading to margin decay.

It’s not a question of “if your current product offerings will become obsolete,” but rather “when”

Technologies and product are point in time solutions to getting important jobs done. As new technologies emerge, new and better ways of getting jobs done are guaranteed to hit the market. Think about how recorded music has evolved over time.

From the wax records during Edison’s time, to MP3’s and the abundance of streaming audio we find today. And the ever evolving business models built on music. Talk about change!  But the core job-to-be-done – listening to music to add enjoyment to everyday life – remains stable.

The key concept is that jobs remain stable and don’t change much over time. When a new technology comes along that has the ability to improve outcomes along important job dimensions like speed, cost, accessibility,  convenience, etc. – the incumbent solutions get replaced by new-and-better ways to get the job done. When’s the last time you purchased an LP? For a CD for that matter?  Have you purchased any music lately at all?

And because innovation is focused on getting important jobs – customers will grasp (adopt) the solution more readily because they will already have an existing need they want fulfilled  –  making the adoption cycle far more predictable and successful.  People will continue to want to listen to music, and are open to experiencing new ways of getting music to their ears.

Jobs-to-be-done innovation provides developers a method to breakout of their current “me-too” product doldrums

There are many reasons why companies fail to innovate. Sometimes it’s because in their attempt to de-risk innovation, they choose to focus on incremental product improvements and stick to proven business models. Other times it is because they don’t have a predictable and repeatable framework to break out of their current product orientation. Their development  and marketing processes become optimized on churning out products that up till now, have provided sufficient growth.

But the well has dried up – what now?

The “jobs-to-be-done” innovation framework provides a predictable and repeatable innovation process that focuses on important jobs customers need to get done and the metrics the customers use to define success.  It is solution independent and allows the marketing and development team to break free of old assumptions to discover important problems worth solving, and creating solutions customers will embrace because they already are looking for solutions to get important jobs done better.

Schedule an innovation strategy session to learn more

If you are interested in learning more about the jobs-to-be-done  framework, and how it will improve your innovation and NPD effectiveness, give us a call and arrange a complementary innovation strategy session with us.

In our innovation strategy session we’ll explore what you need to move your business forward and what you’ve learned from past innovation efforts. We will explore the challenges you and your innovation team are facing, what kind of results you’d like to see instead, and whether jobs-to-be-done innovation can help or not. Whatever the outcome, you’ll leave the conversation clear about the issues you’re facing and excited about what’s possible.

 

Cheers!

 

Kevin

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One Response to Product Orientation Leads To Red Ocean Battles – Whereas a “Jobs” Orientation Leads To Blue Oceans

  1. Pingback: What job (or jobs) should a development team innovate around? | iNPD Center, Inc

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The Innovator’s Playbook

Discovering and Transforming Great Ideas Into Breakthrough New Products

The Innovator's Playbook

The Innovator’s Playbook provides an innovation framework based on the "jobs-to-be-done" innovation theory pioneered by Clayton Christensen and others. This proven methodology frames innovation opportunities from the customer's perspective to create products and services that match the needs of the people who use it.
 

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