Much of the writing about the notion of “Jobs to be Done” revolves around consumer products. This makes sense — these are simple examples that everyone can relate to.
But, reading all these pieces, you’d never guess that healthcare is the biggest industry in the U.S. economy. There are few healthcare examples in my book Jobs to be Done, so the purpose of this piece is to provide a straightforward example for that huge yet neglected sector.
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.
To do so, we need to use a tool, the Jobs Atlas, which is laid out in our book. The Atlas comprises eight parts, as shown below. The steps work best when followed in order:
The Jobs Atlas framework allows companies to look at opportunity areas holistically, while avoiding bias toward specific solutions. The Atlas plots the overall landscape without dictating the route the company will take. This perspective enables a company to grasp the full opportunity that its innovations can seize. Moreover, knowing this Atlas for the range of stakeholders served (here, we’ve focused on hospitals) enables the company to compare benefits across stakeholder types in an apples-to-apples manner, looking objectively at where it may struggle and excel.
Healthcare is inevitably a complicated business. But even in a field as complex as surgical equipment, the Jobs Atlas provides a detailed yet expansive view of how to plot a route to success. As with our example innovation, perspective provides clear vision.
Learn more about Jobs to be Done thinking in practice at www.newmarketsadvisors.com