Discover the Jobs to Be Done that will springboard your next growth.

What We Do:

We enable clients to see customers where none currently exist and visualise new uncontested market-places. We do this by providing a deep understanding of your customers and prospects as they struggle to make progress in their lives or reach goals that will positively transform their lives.

We deliver Jobs to Be Done insight with customers, prospects, and other stakeholders through our tried and tested research process.

Clayton Christensen (The Innovator’s Dilemma 2016) provided the insight that people ‘hire products and services to get Jobs done’. Once defined, Jobs enable businesses to compete from the strength of human insight, which extends beyond the boundaries of rigid product categories hence opening disruptive opportunities.

Clay Christensen developed the theory of “disruptive innovation” which led The Economist to call him “the most influential management thinker of his time.” Wikipedia.

“Industry boundaries have blurred so much that standard industrial classifications (SIC0 codes are more or less useless.” Harvard Business Review May-June 2020.

Digital technologies deliver new possibilities to get Jobs done in one platform rather than several product solutions making this approach ripe for today’s business and marketing environment.

Inside Story provides robust research that describes the Job/s to Be Done in four areas. Following in the footsteps of Jobs to Be Done academic Clayton Christensen (Competing Against Luck 2016 and The Innovator’s Dilemma 2016):

  • Core situation/life context e.g. Small businesses owner-operators required to complete business activity statements and to calculate government goods and services tax quarterly
  • Situation linked socio-emotional need e.g. self-reliance, minimisation of accountancy bills, and removal of paperwork that takes time away from sales and marketing activities of business owners every quarter
  • Current solutions and weaknesses (potential sources of differentiation) e.g. online software (overly technical and time-consuming with too much functionality), hire a bookkeeper( too expensive and too much compliance, lack of control have to ask for information), outsource to accountants (too expensive)
  • Indicative functional properties of the opportunities (the broad product/service blueprint) e.g. An accounting solution with minimal functionality devoid of technical complexity. No accounting knowledge is needed to operate.

Together these represent a rich and multi-layered human story that provides a robust springboard for value proposition design and product innovation.

Applications include:

  • Value proposition Design – new and re-design of existing propositions
  • Identification of new products and services
  • Communications.

What It Involves:

  • A series of one-to-one qualitative interviews with potential customers
  • Ethnography consisting of observation
  • A market research online forum conducted over seven to ten days with structured exercises to elicit situations, goals, and unmet needs.

The above are conducted in parallel or quick succession over two weeks to 6 weeks.

  • An optional element may involve large-scale quantification through survey research as a basis for a robust quantitative business case for major investment decisions
  • We encourage our clients to mirror each component of the research, completing in parallel alongside prospective customers. In this way, we harness internal knowledge and achieve deeper stakeholder engagement in line with active learning principles.

Our clients are often not short of ideas and are experts in their businesses. We work in partnership with clients validating, sharpening, challenging, and evolving their ideas to ensure the ideas translate into compelling value propositions, strategies, and innovation opportunities. We are equally comfortable generating Jobs to Be Done ideas from scratch, delivering new twists on existing ideas, or validating client ideas with little or no change.


What makes our approach different and better?:

Why Jobs and not needs, archetypes, or socio-demographics?

Needs are central and help create powerful communications and value propositions. Similarly, need-based archetypes have long provided a basis for market segmentation. However, needs and archetypes are proving too broad for successful innovation.

“These needs are important to consumers, but their generality provides only the vaguest of direction to innovators as to how to satisfy them”… Clayton Christensen, Competing Against Luck, 2016.

Further, seeking reasons for the high failure rates of product innovation, Christensen has observed that knowing a target market’s demographics rarely provides a sufficient basis for innovation. Needs and circumstances together are the bases of innovation and primarily span across demographics. Similarly, Customer Satisfaction and NPS® surveys can give some clues for identifying Jobs providing sometimes helpful background but are rarely sufficient by themselves.

What does Inside Story add over and above internal brainstorming?

Most organisations have a rich source of expertise refined over many years in the business and other product categories. This internal expertise enriches as well and limits.

Further, there is the temptation to fall in love with your idea. The best possible outcome comes from a marriage of both internal knowledge and customer insight.

What Jobs to Be Done can add over and above data analytics?

Data analytics can form a valuable resource for identifying aspects of the Job to Be Done specification, e.g., high value and high-frequency times of day, product combinations, and locations. However, customer databases can’t tell you why things are happening, and the why is critical to formulating new value propositions and developing new products and services.

Can Inside Story help us if we already have developed ideas?

Most of our clients are not short of ideas. They come to us to validate, refine and optimise their ideas and deepen their understanding of their customers and prospects.

The result is a strong business case, a more precise brief to implementers, and the chance to discover a more exciting twist on pre-existing ideas and hunches.

Can Inside Story help us when we want to start ‘bottom up’ without pre-conceptions?

We are experts at discovering situation-based human needs, struggles, and aspirations from scratch using advanced qualitative techniques such as metaphor elicitation.

The research follows a client workshop to identify the frame/s of reference for the research representing the boundaries of the investigation: who to involve, broad topics to cover, general parameters within which to explore the Jobs.

We will identify the correct balance between a test and learn (‘top-down’) methods and more open-ended ‘bottom-up’ customer listening.

Client partnership is central to our approach. Our clients work with us hand in hand.


What our clients say:

This was a project with significant potential business impact that required critical thinking to meet our specific needs…Sensitive interviewing and qualitative skill were demonstrated in identifying the Jobs to be Done with linked needs and benefits… We have worked with Inside Story across several research projects and found them to have an outstanding approach to complex, multi-layered projects. They are strongly collaborative, deliver practical insight and robust outcomes in a tight time frame.

Mark Solonsch
Customer Research Lead, Marketing & Brand Customer & Portfolio

…amongst the most innovative and insightful marketers. She (Inside Story’s CEO Liane Ringham) is always on the leading edge of breakthroughs in marketing science and effectively translates these ideas into practical applications that effectively guide business decisions… unique combination of deep consumer psychological insight and quantitative expertise result in very valuable interpretation of research data that provided a real competitive advantage to the business.

Gloria Farler
Former Executive Director, Market Based Management – Telstra

The research utlised depth interviewing. The outputs were communicated with clear action implications… The stakeholders who initiated the research have applied the principles learned in several new circumstances… I have no hesitation in recommending the services of Inside Story following this and previous experiences spanning two decades.

Gary Lembit
Senior Manager Client Services and Analytics – Perpetual.

This was a highly successful and innovative project (that we engaged Inside Story for). The project won an award for marketing innovation at our organisation. The recruitment was difficult and Inside Story have repeatedly shown their capability to deliver quality participants and impactful reporting.

Chris Taffs
Senior Insight Manager – News Limited