Professor Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School is best known for his 1997 book The Innovator’s Dilemma, which introduced the concept of “disruptive innovation.” He explained how cheaper, simpler or unexpected products and services can bring down big companies like U.S. Steel, Xerox and Digital Equipment.
His new book, Competing Against Luck, introduces the “Jobs to Be Done” theory, a way for companies to stave off competition from disruptive products and services. He co-authored Competing Against Luck with Taddy Hall, Karen Dillon and David S. Clayton Christensen. Christensen explains: I realized that historically, innovation seemed to have been unpredictable, almost like a role of the dice. It didn’t seem right that innovation should be a crapshoot. Then I realized that what causes innovation to appear unpredictable is that at business schools, we have taught people that understanding the consumer is the right unit of analysis. Understanding the job is the right unit of analysis. Jobs arise that have to be done. Also a job to be done has a functional dimension but it also has a social dimension and an emotional dimension. Companies should focus on context. Christensen: If you ask a customer today what needs they have and tomorrow ask them what needs they have, those are very unpredictable. What you need to understand is rather that every day things happen to us. Very often those social and emotional dimensions are just as, if not more important than the functional dimensions.
The following Bloomberg news video clip allows Christensen to explain important concepts relating to these new insights: