“It is better to be lucky than good” is a quote that most people recognize. It is often referenced when a company or person is good or maybe great at some action, but is beaten by a fortunate competitor.

Our innovation quest often seems to fall under this quote. We are very good at innovation but still fail. The top 1000 public companies spend nearly $600 billion on innovation with only a combined 15 percent success rate!

Why? It often is because we are not as good as we think. Our innovation may be based on intuition that is faulty or it may be based on derivatives of current products, or many other less than solid foundations. A way out of this thinking is revealed in the methods described in this new book from Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, Competing against Luck.

Here’s a video introduction to the book:

This book provides great information about innovation and jobs theory in sections:

  1. Introduction to jobs theory;
  2. Jobs theory to practice;
  3. Payoffs and challenges to your organization, and;
  4. Big ideas and examples.

Christensen explains in his book that we really rent products to do a job for us. The jobs vary greatly, but the better a product does a job, the more likely we are to buy it. We can get “luckier” if we closely examine the jobs our customer wants our product to do. Asking the right customer the right questions about the jobs and duties of the product reveals the true path to innovation. For example, if we asked about the job of a normal residential entry door, the jobs may be:

  • Keep out intruders;
  • Save energy;
  • Improve curb appeal;
  • Easy to open and shut;
  • Durable;
  • Safe for children and pets, and;
  • Affordable.

These product jobs are often not product features, but experiences that the customer wants to feel from the product. Your ability to create that experience improves your customers’ causality to purchase your door.

As we have also learned in other Fenestration Innovation blogs, the Five Whys from Lean thinking should be applied to every job the door must do from the above list. Ask, answer and record each Why to create a roadmap to innovation success.

Keep innovating!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *