You’re on a mission to know more about your customers. Stop.

The extraordinary variety and volume of data you’re collecting at unprecedented speed and analyzing in sophisticated ways while hoping it leads to successful innovation isn’t working.  And Taddy Hall, global authority on innovation, marketing and growth strategy, says it’s leading your company in the wrong direction.

In the September issue of Harvard Business Review, Hall and his colleagues – Clayton Christensen, Karen Dillon and David Duncan – explain why: Most of the masses of customer data are structured to show correlations. And while finding patterns in the numbers is exciting, they don’t mean one thing actually caused another.

Unfortunately, most managers have grown comfortable basing decisions on correlations, suspects Hall, principal at the Cambridge Group and executive of The Nielsen Company. “What we really need to home in on is the progress the customer is trying to make in a given circumstance – what the customer hopes to accomplish. This is what we’ve come to call the job to be done.”

It’s the golden thread of “Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice” (HarperCollins, October 2016), a book written by the expert foursome, and grounded in Jobs to be Done theory. But employing Jobs to be Done doesn’t mean throwing out the data and research you’ve already amassed. Use it as the starting point to answer four key questions:

  1. Can you identify circumstances in which prospective customers are struggling to make progress?
  2. Can you define the experiences these people are trying to create?
  3. Can you map out the landscape of current “solutions” to include unexpected improvisations and non-consuming compensating routines?
  4. Can you define the full array of functional, emotional and social benefits that collectively constitute perfect fulfillment of the job to be done?

Contact us to learn more about how Hall and his colleagues can help you uncover your customers’ jobs to be done. Pre-order “Competing Against Luck” and get ready to make your innovations far more predictable – and profitable.