In 1964 Peter Drucker wrote, “The customer rarely buys what the business thinks it sells him.” And Clayton Christensen popularized the concept a decade ago with the term “Jobs to be Done.” Yet, for all the compelling wisdom in the Jobs to be Done thinking, companies rarely deploy it. Products define how companies are organized and measured; they are easy to define and adjust. In contrast, a landscape of Jobs to be Done can sound nebulous and sprawling. What’s needed is a way to make the Jobs landscape as rigorously defined as products tend to be.
In this article, Stephen Wunker and Carla O’Dell explain how a meticulous approach to Jobs to be Done – termed the Jobs Atlas – reframed opportunities for APQC. Creating a detailed view of members’ Jobs enabled APQC to spot and shape critical new growth initiatives, and it did so in a systematic manner that can be replicated time and again.