Scaling Impact

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E42: Leveraging Jobs To Be Done To Scale Impact

How can the product framework ‘jobs to be done’ help your organization with scaling impact?

What I talk about on this episode:

  • What jobs to be done is all about
  • How it works in practice
  • Why it’s important to drive innovation
  • The mistakes you make if you skip it
  • How your organization should use it
  • Read the book – Competing Against Luck

If you’d like to learn how to scale impact at your nonprofit by more than double in less than half the time, sign up for my free 5 day email course (

Episode Transcript

Hey everyone, Sean here and today what I want to talk to you about is a framework referred to as jobs to be done, and how learning more about it can help you with scaling impact. 

Now the jobs to be done framework comes from an author by the name of Clayton Christensen and it’s talked about in detail in his book that’s called Competing Against Luck. Now, in this book, they talk quite a bit about how people ultimately decide to or not to make the kind of progress that they want to in their lives. That’s kind of what you could consider to be a high level description of the jobs to be done framework is all about. It tries to put the emphasis on figuring out how people are determining whether to use or not use certain products in their lives. And it puts it in this context of what job are you hiring that product to do. And if you think about it from this perspective, I think it immediately might seem a little bit confusing but in reality, when you think about the products you use in your lives or whatever it is your laptop, your car, you may or may not have had pair of headphones, I’m just looking around at some of the stuff that I have on my desk here I’m holding a pen, right the two different products that we use, we use them for specific purposes. And that’s the point of this framework is to figure out why people ultimately decide to use certain products and also put into context any of the other products they have decided not to use instead of that product. And that’s what jobs to be done is all about. 

So this framework can be particularly helpful for you to get a better understanding in who it is you’re looking to learn more about so that you can figure out which problems they have that you can help them with right and if we put this through the context of what your organization is likely trying to do in scaling impact. If you’re, for example, nonprofit organization, you can think of this, you can leverage the jobs to be done framework to figure out how to best scale impact by first getting a better understanding and who you want to help. That’s the place to start. Once we know who that is, right? Maybe that’s your nonprofit program client. Maybe that’s the members of your organization, whomever it is, we need to be specific about that. Right? Because we need to be talking to the same type of person, as we’re figuring out how to leverage this framework to figure out how to scale impact now if we’re focused on your nonprofit program, clients might be figuring out how to help them more with whatever the mission is of your organization, like ending asset poverty or helping cure education problems and things like that. If we’re focused on your team, it might be around how to enable them to increase their leverage so that they can help more of your clients, right? Maybe we’re talking about getting them time back, or enabling them to do more with less, whatever it is, right? Those might be some of your high level objectives. But once you figure it out who you want to help, now you start leveraging this as a framework. By spending time with those individuals and focus on something called storyboarding. That’s where you learn all the things of unrelated to what it is is going on at the moment in this individual’s life as it pertains to the particular topic or problem that you ultimately want to help them with and that problem is either going to be a major issue or minor issue or somewhere in between for them. But you’re only going to get the context that you need by interviewing them, and better understanding the kind of impact that problem may be having on their life. Then once you’re talking to them about that you can learn more about how they’re trying to solve that problem today.  Is to help them improve, right and there’s a lot more about this framework that helps you understand how to leverage it in order to continue to pursue investing in some of these innovative strategies. 

And in particular, because it’s what we talk about on this show different ways to help your organization with scaling impact. This is a more advanced product concept, or strategy, but I want to share it with you because if you want to dive in further and learn more about it, I’ve got resources to share with you there as well too. It can be particularly helpful in establishing the right mindset, which will help your organization think through how to leverage different tools and resources for scaling impact more effectively. It really prevents a number of different problems which might arise if you don’t have a framework like this to guide you. Like for example, building a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist. We see that a lot in the product world. So if you just start with whatever it is your idea to try to solve because you think that problem may be out there if you’re not in the target market and you haven’t done this discovery work and you haven’t done the storyboarding, then you’re probably likely to miss and if you miss, you might invest a lot of time and money into a project which ultimately doesn’t deliver the results that you’re looking for, as an organization. So if you want to learn more about the jobs to be done framework, and I’d highly encourage that you do so if you’re trying to scale impact your nonprofit organization, get a copy of Clayton Christensen’s book called Competing Against Luck.