This post discusses a specific aspect of Jobs to be Done. If you haven’t already done so, we suggest starting with the post—What is Jobs To Be Done. This will give you a broad overview of JTBD concepts with links to other posts that take a deeper dive into those concepts.
Recall that a job stack solution enables customers to get multiple related jobs done on a single service platform. This is possible because a service platform provides a common service interface that enables customers to access different products and/or services from one or more providers to execute an arrangement of related jobs.
Customers seek out job stack solutions for good reasons. First, job stack solutions consist of a combination of well-integrated services, which significantly reduces the time, effort and cost of coordinating related jobs. Second, job stack solutions enable customers to arrange related jobs that are capable of satisfying a diverse set of needs for a high-level job. And third, job stack solutions are typically significantly less expensive than cobbling together a number of products and/or services from multiple independent providers.
Now, although the term “job stack solution” is relatively new, the concept is not. In fact, Job stack solutions are quite common; they take many forms and they’re called by different names. For instance, job stack solutions can take the form of multi-sided platforms, which enable different groups to transact via an integrated suite of tools and services. These include LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, PayPal, match.com and many others. For example, individuals hire PayPal to “Make a secure online payment,” and “Dispute an online purchase,” and “Transfer funds to someone.” However, the high-level job they’re trying to get done by executing these related jobs is to, “Manage Online financial transactions.” With this insight, PayPal now provides solutions for other related jobs that customers are trying to get done, such as “Finance an Online purchase.”
Job stack solutions can take the form of email marketing services, video hosting services, and Identity protection services like LifeLock, to mention a few. For example, individuals hire LifeLock to, “Monitor credit file activity” and “Monitor postal service address change” and “Respond to an identity breach.” However, the high-level job that individuals are trying to get done via these related jobs is to “Prevent digital piracy.” With this insight, Lifelock now provides solutions to other related jobs that customers are trying to get done, such as, “Protect data and information on devices” to avoid ransomware, viruses, spyware and the like.
Job stack solutions are offered by on-premise service providers like fitness clubs, bank branches, and pharmacies, to mention a few. For example, individuals hire CVS pharmacies to “Fill a prescription,” and “Transfer a prescription,” and “Organize multiple medications.” However, the high-level job that individuals are trying to get done via these related jobs is to, “Manage personal healthcare.” With this insight, CVS now provides solutions to other related jobs that customers are trying to get done, such as “Diagnose and treat a minor illness or injury,” which enables customers to avoid the time, effort and cost of going to a doctor’s office.
Job stack solutions can take the form of product-service hybrid offerings. For example, many flat screen TVs aren’t just digital displays – they also help customers connect to a Wi-Fi device, connect to content providers like Netflix and Amazon, browse the Web, and locate content via a voice search function. In this case, the TV itself is the service platform, integrating a number of provider solutions.
Now, the rapid advancement of Internet-of-Things technology (or IoT) is making it possible to integrate traditionally stand-alone physical products with service platforms. By Mapping high-level jobs, innovation teams can determine the best combination of products and services that enable customers to get those jobs done well.
Lastly, job stack solutions can take the form of a “service appliance, which is a physical product that’s an extension of a service platform. As such, they enable customers to provision a number of services on a platform with one device. Service appliances include smart phones, smart watches, e-readers like Kindle and the Nook, smart speakers connected to virtual assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant, to mention a few.
Mapping high-level jobs can help innovation teams identify arrangements of related jobs that groups of customers are trying to get done under different circumstances. They can then offer flexible job stack solutions via a service appliance that helps customers orchestrate those related jobs better than competing solutions.
It should be noted that bundling complementary products and/or services from multiple independent providers is not really a job stack solution. Although bundled offerings may sell at a discount, they’re typically not well integrated like job stack solutions. Other than the cost savings, bundled offerings seldom help customers get high-level jobs done better. So, why not map a high-level job and turn a bundled offering into a job stack solution that actually does help customers get a particular job done better?
Regardless of the form that job stack solutions take, they’re attractive to customers because they reduce the time, effort and expense of getting high-level jobs done well. That’s because customers have virtually unlimited jobs they want to get done, but they have limited resources to work with. Simply put, job stack solutions enable customers to stretch their resources to get more jobs done, which enables them to make more progress in their lives and businesses.
Due to advancements in technology, business models and design, it’s not only possible, but feasible to transform just about any product or service into a job stack solution. Because customers are aware of this, they seek out job stack solutions that help them get multiple related jobs done better, faster and cheaper. This creates lots of opportunities to covert indifferent or latent value to undershot value. But, without a jobs-to-be-done perspective, innovators are often in the dark in terms of what services are most valued by customers vis-à-vis competing offerings.
Now, organizations often generate hundreds of ideas, searching for their next innovation moves. But the reality is that organizations have lots of low-hanging opportunities hidden in plain sight. To see them, start by recognizing the high-level jobs that your existing products and services are being hired to get done. Mapping those job stacks will reveal plenty of related jobs that your solutions aren’t yet addressing. Additionally, ask “What other high-level jobs are your customers trying to execute before, concurrently and after using your solutions. These high-level jobs are the best entry points for new product and service development.
All too often, organizations keep extending the same offerings with more sophisticated features well beyond what customers want. This is problematic because once customers are satisfied with a solution’s ability to help them get a particular job done, they typically don’t recognize the value of additional features and benefits. What they want is to get more jobs done so they can make more progress. Knowing when to slow down or stop solution enhancements and to move on to other related jobs is the key to sustainable and profitable growth.
Because a job stack innovation strategy reveals a never-ending stream of lucrative growth opportunities, there’s simply no need to brainstorm hundreds of ideas and then move those ideas through a funnel-like process to determine which ones are worth pursuing. The best innovation opportunities are in the job stacks surrounding your organization’s core offerings.
When organizations pivot from their core in this way, there’re able to leverage their resource mix and capabilities in ways that’s difficult for competitors to profitably imitate. Therefore, organizations that employ job stack innovation strategies can sustain relatively high profitability throughout their product and service lines. But again, without a jobs-to-be-done perspective, these kinds of growth opportunities often remain hidden in plain sight.
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