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“Once you understand what jobs people are striving to do, it becomes easier to predict what products or services they will take up and which will fall flat.” – Stephen Wunker

 Author and innovation expert Stephen Wunker is bringing his jobs-to-be-done approach to THINK 17. But what exactly does he mean by jobs-to-be-done?

Why do you buy a lawnmower? Most people would answer “to cut the grass.” This is certainly true. But when a lawnmower company starts to dig deeper, they might find that the real purpose of buying a lawnmower is to keep the grass low and beautiful, make an impression on neighbors or increase property value. Knowing this could help the lawnmower company fine tune their product roadmap by revealing that there’s really no reason to add fancy features to the lawnmower: The job consumers want to get done is straightforward. Instead, the lawnmower company might want to explore developing a special grass that doesn’t need to get cut and starting a new business line.

As Theodore Levitt said, “People don’t want a quarter-inch drill; they want a quarter-inch hole.” People buy products and services to get jobs done. And while products and services come and go, the foundational job-to-be-done does not go away. This is underlying notion is at the heart of the jobs-to-be-done theory. It helps credit unions understand that members don’t buy products and services; they seek out various solutions at various times to get a wide array of jobs done.

Innovators who discover what jobs consumers are looking to complete are more likely to create highly competitive products or services based on new market insights. In the process, they create viable growth strategies. Automated toothbrushes with sonic waves are replacing manual toothbrushes because they make the job easier to get done. The same is true for skin patches that deliver medicine effortlessly, the internet taking the place of libraries and self-cleaning glass making life easier and squeegee-free.

How would the jobs-to-be-done methodology work for you?

 By focusing on the job-to-be-done, credit unions can seek out unmet member needs. It turns out that when customers are executing a job, they have a set of metrics in mind that define the successful execution of that job. These desirable outcomes can be captured as actionable member need statements, replacing the inputs credit unions typically record and use to create new products and services. By focusing on new solutions, credit unions can help accomplish more and even target people who will pay the most to get the job done best. It could be the basis of a whole new business.

The concept of jobs-to-be-done was first explored in the mainstream by Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen in his 2003 book “The Innovator’s Solution” and further developed by Stephen Wunker in the book “Jobs to be Done: A Roadmap for Customer-Centered Innovation.” Wunker will be one of the main keynote speakers at THINK 17, introducing the jobs-to-be-done framework and helping you to apply this model to your credit union – so you can grow and open new markets.

As a leading consultant on growth and innovation for the past dozen years, Wunker was a long-term colleague of Christensen in building up his innovation consulting practice. Wunker founded New Market Advisors in 2009 and advises innovative companies across industries, including Nestle, Boston Scientific, Cognizant, and Nike.

Join us at THINK 17 to reframe your market as a potent engine for credit union growth. Stephen Wunker will help to translate the jobs-to-be-done concept into specific ideas for action.