Given the rapid pace of change today, it’s no surprise that many leaders want to create a culture of innovation to stay relevant.
Yet, in my work as an innovation and growth-strategy consultant, I consistently see organizations make the following three mistakes:
- Confuse innovation with creativity
- Generate ideas instead of gain insights
- Seek to understand customers instead of the jobs that customers are trying to get done
Mistake #1: Confusing innovation with creativity
Innovation and creativity are different. There are many definitions for innovation, but I like this one because it reveals the two key steps of innovation:
“Innovation is the process of first discovering target customers’ (internal or external) unmet needs and then developing solutions to address them.”
On Thursday, 9/21, about 30 executives attended the executive breakfast hosted by Reveal at GBQ Partners – “Rethinking Innovation: How the Jobs-to-Be-Done Approach Delivers Dramatically Better Results.” GBQ’s offices, with their floor-to-ceiling windows and views, open spaces for mingling, and comfortable training rooms, was the perfect venue for the event.
Urko started it off presenting an overview of the “jobs-to-be-done” (JTBD) innovation approach, explaining how it answers perhaps the most important question every organization must answer: “How do customers define value?” He also showed how JTBD is different from and complementary to other innovation approaches increasing success rates by over 200%.
One of the big takeaways is that customer “needs” are separate and distinct from solutions. As …
I recently had an opportunity to interview Darci Congrove, managing director of GBQ Partners, a regional tax, accounting and consulting firm headquartered in Columbus, Ohio.
GBQ has an unusual tagline, especially for an accounting firm: “Entrepreneurial spirit. Independent expertise.” And it’s not just a tagline. This helps explain how GBQ has increased its revenue year after year to record levels. It’s a group I’ve worked with in the past, but I wanted to know from Darci, “How does GBQ do it?”
Here’s what she told me.
1. Invested in marketing
“We invested heavily in a marketing department and got really focused on how we were presenting ourselves to the public,” …
(This is the third in a series of articles initially published in The Business Journals)
I recently had an opportunity to interview Jeff Baker, head of customer insights, category management and strategy at Valvoline and a former client of mine.
There are very few executives in the country who have the depth of experience with what’s known as the “jobs-to-be-done” (JTBD) innovation approach as Baker. He has been using the approach for nearly 15 years through his various roles at Microsoft, Strategyn, NetJets and now Valvoline.
Previously, I asked him to share his perceptions of the ‘jobs-to be-done’ innovation approach as well as discuss how he uses it in his current work.
This week, in the third …
This is part 2 in a 3-part interview with Jeff Baker, head of customer insights, category management and strategy at Valvoline and a former client of mine.
There are very few executives in the country who have the depth of experience with what’s known as the “jobs-to-be-done” (JTBD) innovation approach as Baker. He has been using the approach for nearly 15 years through his various roles at Microsoft, Strategyn, NetJets and now Valvoline. I asked him to share his perceptions of this new approach, which we outlined in this previous post: One Executive’s Perceptions of the Jobs-to-be-Done Innovation Approach.
This week, Jeff discusses how he uses the JTBD approach in his current work at Valvoline.
I recently had an opportunity to interview Jeff Baker, head of customer insights, category management and strategy at Valvoline, and a former client of mine (Microsoft and NetJets).
There are very few executives in the country who have the depth of experience with the job-to-be-done (JTBD) innovation approach as Baker. He has completed over 100 JTBD projects in the past 15 years through various roles at Microsoft, Strategyn, NetJets, and now Valvoline. I asked him to share his perceptions of the approach.
A quick overview of the JTBD innovation approach
The jobs-to-be-done innovation approach is a highly effective method for discovering customers’ unmet needs in a form that is ideal for driving innovation …
I am proud to report that my adopted hometown of Columbus, Ohio, is on a roll.
About a year ago, Columbus beat 77 cities to win $40 million in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge. Other finalists included Austin, Dallas, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Portland and San Francisco. Columbus then went on to win another $10 million from Vulcan Inc., Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen’s company, to cut emissions through the adoption of electric vehicles. On top of all that, thanks to Columbus’ especially strong public-private partnership, the private sector has raised more than $100 million in additional money for related efforts.
This is a great time for Columbus.
The team responsible for …
In his book, Lead With a Story, Paul Smith tells about Jayson Zoller’s experience as a student at the University of Central Florida 20 years ago.
One of Jayson’s favorite professors often arranged research projects for the class with community leaders. In one such case, the professor described an unusual project working for a chief district judge. The assignment: to investigate the jury deliberation process and determine how to improve it.
As young idealistic college students, Jayson and his classmates were thrilled to tackle such a noble mission.
The team interviewed dozens of judges, attorneys, former jurors and other court officials around the district. They asked all the questions you would think a smart …
On April 6th, The Wall Street Journal reported that a fintech startup called Trov (“fintech” refers to any technology innovation in the financial services industry) had raised $45 million to bring on-demand services to the property and casualty insurance market.
Trov is an interesting case of how digital technology is disrupting traditional insurance markets. Unlike traditional homeowners’ or renters’ insurance, which provides blanket coverage, Trov enables customers to insure individual items “with the swipe of a credit card” and without talking to anyone.
At this time, Trov insures only consumer electronics and photography equipment, but they intend “to cover jewelry, sporting goods and …
There’s a simple way for leaders to obtain the customer information they need for innovation, but it’s not big data.
In my last article, I argued that big data underperforms at innovation because it does not reveal causality, i.e., why people buy. Even “predictive” analytics does not reveal why people buy an offering, only the probability of them buying it. Leaders don’t need more data and correlations; they need actionable insights that explain why people buy.
Companies can gain actionable insights with the “jobs to be done” innovation approach. This approach is based on marketing fundamentals and the observation that people buy products and services to get functional, emotional and social jobs (or …