In this post, we move ahead of the Part 1 , which argued that seeking ‘solutions’ is not the best way of capturing customer requirements.
Even if the requirement is initially captured in terms of a solution, it can be improved upon in order to provide an innovative solution. If the solution for a shaving razor was ‘a wider handle’ you need further information on ‘Why a wider handle?’. Answer to this might tell you that the actual need is to ensure that the razor does not slip from the hand. If so, a rubberised solution may well be a better answer.
A more detailed understanding of the actual benefit sought, expressed in terms of precise outcome, is always helpful. For a cell manufacturer ‘Easy to use’ could well been any of these –

  • Minimize the time it takes to look up a contact number.
  • Minimize the time it takes to open an application.
  • Easy to use with just three fingers of a hand.
  • Easy to switch between silent and silent profile.

Taking this forward, let us see what types of customer inputs are necessary for a good innovation. It seems there are three of them –

  • Job To be Done ( JTBD ) – What tasks or activities are they using your product for.  A pen being purchased for extensive writing, calls for innovations that must be different from those needed for a pen being purchased as an expensive gift. It is worth noting that customers use products for several jobs at the same time – functional and emotional. The emotional jobs may well be at the social and/or personal level.


  • Outcome – Within that job, what outcome are they trying to achieve i.e. the metrics they use to define success. While designing a better circular saw, Bosch found that customer measured the outcomes in following ways –


    • Minimize the ‘kick’, when starting the saw.
    • Increase the likelihood that the blade will cut precisely on the cut line.
    • Minimize the amount of pressure to be exerted to keep the on the cutting surface.


  • Constraints – Under what constraints are they trying to do their job. These constraints must not be disregarded and, if possible, improved upon. If we know that the sub machine gun may well be needed to be used while the soldier slithers down from a helicopter(during which time the right hand is on the rope), the position of the trigger must be such that it is usable by the left hand too.

Being customer drive might be good but being outcome driven is better.


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