Friday, May 6, 2011

Practical Experience with Christensen's Innovation Methodology JOBS(R) Jobs-to-be-done when creating the Avaya Flare User Experience, Avaya Digital Video Device and Cloud Offer. Learning: Add focus on emotions.

Clayton Christensen's Jobs-to-be-done approach describe a series of steps to create innovation systematically. This article describes the application of the methodology to the creation of the Avaya Flare User Experience, the Avaya Digital Video Device and the related enterprise cloud offer. We found key for success is to add focus on emotions. And the result to be a condensed job description as more work is required to detail the solutions that it becomes testable against objectives and barriers. This blog is complemented by a slide deck in slideshare covering this topic. Disclaimer: The blog represents my opinions and not the views of my employer Avaya.





1.  Overview of the JOBS Methodology.

JOBS(R) ( atrademark of Innosight) consists out of 4 steps: Jobs-to-be-done, Objectives, Barriers, and Solutions.
  1. Jobs-to-be-done is the description of the problem a customer tries to solve. Christensen suggests to create complete job descriptions in the form: (Customer) wants to (solve a problem) in (this context).
  2. Objectives. These are the criteria the customer is using to select a solutions. Note this includes functional criteria "like should not cost more than" as well as emotional as well as social objectives.
  3. Barriers. List those which prevent customers to potentially use solutions. Christensen points out the barriers are typically functional as "battery life time beyond 2 days".
  4. Solutions. Create a candidate list of different ways the job could be done. And look for outages of existing solutions.
2. The Context of our experience with the JOBS methodology: What we wanted to achieve with the Avaya Flare User Experience, The Avaya Digital Video Device and the related cloud offer

Goal of the project was to move Avaya beyond voice: Add Video Conferencing and Web Conferencing to the portfolio.

3. Step One: Identify the Jobs-to-be-done.

We visted customers and observed users during virtual conferences (voice, video, web conferences). As part of the process we learned its important to start observing users substantially before the actual activity as well as after the activity. It allows to uncover further "Job-to-be-done" that can fuel novel innovation.

We captured our observations in the form above. Examples are: "Team lead" wants to "exchange information as effectively as possible" in the "distributed team" context. Or "Sales person: wants to "have the latest up to date information on the calling party as fast as possible" in the "inbound call" context..

We learned that "saving time" and "getting related information" are key elements.  These findings are crucial for the next step: Objectives.

Thus in addition to Christensen's method we suggest: create a list of objectives when writing the Jobs-to-be-done.

4. A new step added to Christensen's method: Use Show and Tell so that team members and customers understand the characteristics of great products: Emotions make great products.

Enterprise products are typically around solving pain points. However we not only wanted to solve pain points - we wanted to create a great product. To learn what makes a great product we asked project participants to bring products, tools or services they really loved. What we learned was: A great product is
  1. Multifunctional AND simple to use. You would say no surprise.
  2. Makes people's eyes shine when they use and when they talk about it. Note - this is pure emotions.
  3. Feels good when you touch it. Note this is pure emotions.
  4. One can learn how the complete product works in less than 5 seconds. This translates into: the user gets instant gratification. Again this is about emotions.
We learned that great products are around emotions and not only about solving pain points.

5. Step Two: Objectives.

We found the functional objectives to be straightforward. Here some examples:
  • 100% of users wanting to save time
  • 100% of users looking to get background information on the task at hand quickly. I.e. save time.
  • 50% of users were looking for a solution that makes collaboration of graphically dispersed teams effective.
Based on the learnings from Show and Tell the soft objectives are THE key to create a great product. Here some examples for emotional objectives:
  • 16% of users - the innovators and early adopters - want to show they are thought leaders
  • The early majority (34% of users) want to make it safe to use the product. Note that specifically for senior executives face loosing is a substantial issue. (note we excluded the late majority (34%) and the laggards (16%) from the target audience.
  • Users stated: "I don't want to waste time - i have to get work done"
  • Users stated: "Needs to be fun to use - like in a game". This is about instant gratification - leading to shiny eyes.
And a number of examples for social objectives:
  • For leaders -  50% say "I need to be in control"
  • Be connected with the rest of my leadership team
  • Effectively broaden my network inside the organization. Make me more visible. That makes me more effective and powerful (note this is emotional).
6. Step Three: Barriers. We added emotional and social barriers to Christensen's methodology.

We found the functional barriers of the current solutions. Examples are
  • 35% of uses stated the quality/performance of current solutions is not good enough
  • 20% complained current solutions are diffult to implement or
  • 20% did see security issues as the barrier.
We found that there are a significant number of soft barriers. Examples for emotional barriers are
  • 39% of uswers were concerend its more difficult to multitask in videoconferencing setting. Reason being one might face boredom.
  • 35% raised increased nervousness presenting.
  • 25% of users were concerned being controlled in a video setting.
And we identified social barriers as well. Examples:
  • Group adoption might be required to make the solutions productive.
  • The leaders might need to use the solution first.
7. Step 4. Solutions. We found the above is not enough to create solutions. We did derive a condensed job description instead.

We found that more work is required to create the solutions. The reason being that the solutions need to be sufficiently detailed to be testable against the objectives and the barriers. This instead we created a condensed job description that served as the focal point for next steps.

This is how it read.

We want to build
  • A universal tool to collaborate, that saves me time. Universal like the human hand - the most versatile tool ever invented.
  • The tool delivers the background information I need for the job at hand.
  • It feels good, makes my eyes shine when i use and other folks can learn it in less than 5 seconds. So its safe to suggest to others to use it.
  • We want to make measurable if we are on track: Goal is a net promoter score of 75% during development.
We used that to guide the next phase - searching for the solution. That's a different story for another blog at a different time.

8. Results

We succeeded. Avaya Flare made it to the top of the stack of no jittters cool enterprise products 2010. It consistently rated 8.5+ out of 10 in wow factor and 9+ out of 10 in ease of use. And people get in 2 seconds how it works.
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