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The Jobs-to-be-done framework – in Finance

Dan Liebau

Dan Liebau

Research, Education & Advisory with focus on Innovation & emerging technologies like Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence and Data Science in Financial Services / Capital Markets
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The purpose of this post is to help think about how we can apply Clayton Christensen’s and Tony Ulwick’s “Jobs to be done” Theory in the world of Financial Services.

Theodore Levitt said a long time ago

“People do not want a quarter inch drill – they want a quarter inch hole”

… how true…

Similarly to the drill example we in Finance should not:

  • Build a faster, cheaper, better, bigger financial services firms

or just look at what all our competitors are up to (i.e. building an Innovation lab, outsource operations, etc.)

At the core the JTBD theory says that people hire products to do certain jobs and that companies offering products (or services) should focus on how to assist their clients to get that job done. Jobs to be done are categorized as follows:

While functional aspects are important the theory suggests that the emotional aspects require a lot more attention than they get today.

When we try to formulate a job to be done we can use the following framework:

The following questions that appeared in a Harvard Business Review article might be useful to identify Jobs to be done:

  1. Where do you see non-consumption?
  2. What work-arounds have people invented?
  3. What tasks do people want to avoid?
  4. What surprising uses have customers invented for existing products?

If one wanted to prioritize Jobs to be done to work on then focusing on over- and under-served areas are most promising when looking at opportunities through the lenses of satisfaction and importance:

How can we utilize all of this in Finance?

Understanding the various financial services customers on the individual level (Personas are not always the key to success):

  • retail,
  • corporate,
  • private and
  • institutional
  • and not to forget anyone Financial Services firms do not serve yet – our classic segmentation approach might not work as the famous Milkshake example shows.

Using a tools like the discovery skills can be the key to be focused on the Job to be done.

Finally here are some of the Jobs to be Done that some of the FinTech firms are already working on… and perhaps even some new ones for different clients altogether:

  1. Achieve uncorrelated returns for investors in low interest rate environment
  2. Expose investors to Innovative companies in the United States of America and elsewhere
  3. Ensure Cyber Security risks are accounted for in investment decisions
  4. Innovate quickly and at scale within a regulated and bureaucratic environment
  5. Move from a financial intermediary to a peer-to-peer based digital marketplace while having to deal with legacy technology
  6. Have a complete overview of own finances despite of assets being held with different institutions
  7. Shorten payment transaction times in a increasingly global world
  8. Un-bundle equity research and trade execution under the new regulatory regimes

There are many more of course…

We can focus on the job that our current and future clients need to get done to create new value for them and ourselves only if we gain a deep understanding of what they are trying to achieve. Ethnographic research can also offer valuable insights when trying to identify JTBD.

Dan Liebau

Dan Liebau

Research, Education & Advisory with focus on Innovation & emerging technologies like Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence and Data Science in Financial Services / Capital Markets
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