Let’s use an example based on a real problem we’ve encountered in our healthcare work – obstructions of a surgeon’s view. The surgical field is often blocked by complex anatomy, bodily fluids, and – for endoscopic surgery – a limited number of ports into the body through which to insert surgical instruments including optical scopes. A poor view can lead to guesswork, imperfect suture lines, and accidental nicks to parts of the body best left un-nicked. It’s a real problem.
Now imagine that a company has invented a significantly better way to visualize things (this example is disguised to protect client confidentiality). We have several questions to resolve. What surgical procedures should it target first? What sorts of hospitals should be the lead customers? What benefits does it need to prove for sales (as opposed to regulatory approval) purposes? How should it sell this? What should it charge?
A wonderful aspect of Jobs to be Done is that it provides a cohesive way to view market demands across stakeholder types, in a way that won’t change year-to-year based upon whatever new feature a competitor happens to introduce. It provides a way to address the expansive list of questions above.