From “Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice” by Clayton M. Christensen:
A job to be done is:
“… the progress that a person is trying to make in a particular circumstance.”
One of the popular examples is: “people don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole”.
The importance of context
Whenever we need to “hire” a product to solve our problem, we “hire” it in a specific circumstance. The circumstance is crucial since the job is not only about the function, but also about the social and emotional dimensions. Therefore, the context is an integral part of the job:
“The circumstance is fundamental to defining the job (and finding a solution for it), because the nature of the progress desired will always be strongly influenced by the circumstance.”
Creating the right experience for the job
When we build a product that needs to address a user’s problem, we need to make sure we fully understand what job did the user hire that product to do, and then create the right experience around it.
The best experience will address the whole job, including the social and the emotional dimensions.
“New products succeed not because of the features and functionality they offer but because of the experiences they enable.”