Paradigm Shifts You Need to Become Truly Customer-Centric

Series 1: Episode 10 | 6 May 2022

Show notes | Transcript

Is your innovation plagued with biases that prevent you from becoming customer-centric?

In today’s episode of the Circuit Breaker Show, we talk about the biases innovators need to drop and the paradigm shifts they should adopt to help them use Jobs To Be Done (JTBD).

  • You’ll discover the common assumptions innovators make and why these often act as constraints to innovation.
  • You’ll discover why innovators need to spend most of their time focused on what they don’t know instead of dwelling on what they already know.
  • You’ll learn how innovators often ask the wrong questions and why this inhibits them from becoming customer-centric.

 

Join Greg, Bob and Matt for this fascinating discussion.

Enjoy!

 

What You’ll Learn in this Show:

  • Prevalent biases innovators and entrepreneurs need to watch out for and get rid of.
  • Critical paradigm shifts businesses and innovators have to embrace to fully utilize Jobs To Be Done.
  • What it takes to become truly customer-centric.
  • The indispensable set of skillsets you need in order to employ Jobs To Be Done
  • What is the goal of unpacking in the product design process and why this is so important?
  • And so much more…

Resources:

Jobs To Be Done

Hosts

Matt Sheppard

You find those few critical dimensions that in a certain context are meaningful. And then you exploit those to help people realize; In this situation when I’m struggling with these things, seeking this outcome, this small set of features and benefits are powerful, but everything else isn’t. That’s the value and the nuance of understanding the difference between, job 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

 

Bob Moesta

Welcome to the circuit breaker podcast where we challenge the status quo of innovation and new product development. We’ll talk about tools and skills and methodologies used to build better products and make you a better consumer. I’m Bob Moesta, the co-founder of the rewired group, I’m one of your co-hosts and we’re joined by Greg Engel, who is my co-founder and chief Bob interpreter. Join us as we trip the circuit, and give you time to reset, reorganize and recharge your brain to build better products.

 

Greg Engle 

Today we have Bob and Matt with us. And the question, or the struggle I’m having is, there’s a mindset that has to change, when you start actually talking about doing jobs you’ve done from a truly customer demand, customer centric way. People get the concepts but are struggling to understand what we’re talking about when we talk about needing a paradigm shift in your thinking or there needs to be a mindset change if you’re going to employ jobs to be done. I want to dive into that today, discuss that a little bit. The first question is from your perspective, and this is to both of you. What mindset has to change if you’re going to be truly customer centric or jobs to be on focused?

 

Bob Moesta

That’s we’re jumping into the mud. 

 

Greg Engle 

I told you I’m struggling. 

 

Bob Moesta

I know you’re struggling, there’s several I think, Matt do you have a few?

 

Matt Sheppard

I want to let you go first.

 

Bob Moesta

Of course, you do. I think there’s several mindset changes, but I think one of them is the moment that people realize that when I talk to consumers, they don’t know what they want, and they can’t articulate it in their solution terms. There is no survey I can do that is going to help me get statistically significant information to know what to build next, because they don’t know. Innovation is about learning, it’s about understanding, framing the unknowns to get to the known. So, part of this is to realize, Hey I just talked to the consumer, we do some focus groups, we set up some surveys, we get these answers, and we’ll go build what’s on the survey, if they have that mentality, they’re not going to get jobs, because they already think they’re getting the requirements.

 

That to me is the baseline thing, once they realize that the surveys, they have don’t help them innovate. To be honest they restrict them from innovating because it only helps people, they can only tell you what they already know, as opposed to helping to build what they don’t know. 

 

Matt Sheppard
Correct, I’ll add this; they ask in some idealized sense, absence of context. People will say yes to things that they otherwise might not even have considered or say yes to or be able to action against when the reality of their context is presented to them. 

 

Bob Moesta

Right. Yeah, that’s the other half of that discussion, which is like people will say one thing, but do another correct. Suddenly, you’re locked in this world where you still think that you can talk to customers, they can tell you what they want, and you can go build it and do it. My thing is you don’t need jobs, you’re never going to, it’s for the people who have realized…

 

Matt Sheppard
That’s not working….

 

Bob Moesta

It worked for a period of time, but now it’s just not good enough, and we need to actually understand more or deeper and it’s that part. I think the other part is to realize that they don’t know; This gets back to this notion of most people are running innovation on hypothesis testing. Let’s get in a room and form a hypothesis and then we’re going to generate a series of tests or experiments to prove our hypotheses yes or no. I grew up on the other side of the train tracks where I always learned by doing and building and letting empirical data help me drive what I need to do. In a lot of cases, people are only testing what they know, they don’t understand what they don’t know. 

 

One of the things I learned very early in Japan was, you’re going to build things in a very different way that allows you to learn what you don’t know. Instead of building one prototype, I’ll build 8 or 16 very different prototypes, and I’ll learn all the different failure modes. The other biases people have is this notion of I just build it, and it’ll be right I know how to build it, and there are no unknowns. In 35 years of experience of being in the innovation space, is that most people have to acknowledge they don’t know, and that they have to spend more time not proving what they know, but trying to discover what they don’t know. Those are the two bigger ones that I would start with, Matt.

 

Matt Sheppard

Greg, those are manifestations of what I think you’re asking for, which is, if I’m on the supply side, and I’m charged with marketing, or I’m charged with commercialization, sales, or I’m charged with r&d and the development of a prototype, I’m operating from a certain set of incentive structures and metrics to which we are being held accountable, at the most micro level, and our strategic beliefs about what we want to accomplish. So, we start operating and trying to find things that prove what we have, will work. That bias is the supply side bias, that what we have is a good idea, we just need to figure out how to tell the consumer about it. 

 

And we need to figure out how the consumer will value this, as opposed to approaching it completely the opposite direction. Instead of looking at the world through the lens of what we do, or what we have, we should be looking at the world from the consumer’s perspective and figuring out what they are struggling with? Why are they changing behavior? What are they trying to do differently in life? Then work out how things fit into that. One of the biases you have to be able to drop is you have to be able to say, well, we can’t convince people, nor should we really be trying to convince people that our solution is the right solution. We should be understanding the situation they’re in and helping them see what our product or service can do for them in the context of their life,

 

Matt Sheppard

Right. So this idea that we can somehow convince people to buy if our brand is strong enough, 

 

Bob Moesta

One more feature.

 

Matt Sheppard

We put the right language out there, if we add the right feature, that’s one of the big paradigms that most businesses, most innovation teams, most marketing teams, most r&d teams are operating under, that they would have to change to be able to fully utilize jobs. 

 

Bob Moesta

So if I was somebody that’s been charged with developing a product or a service or something, and I have a feature or benefit that I can do, and I say, ‘Well, I’m just going to keep developing this’ and I go interview customers. Am I truly being customer centric at that point? 

 

Matt Sheppard

No, because you’re asking them, what they think about your product, your prototype, your concept. You’re not asking them about their lives, their struggles, their context, so, you’re not trying to solve their problem. You’re trying to solve your problem by convincing them to buy.

 

Bob Moesta

I think the other side of that, as well is that it’s usually then manufactured context. 

Matt Sheppard

Yes. 

 

Bob Moesta
So let me manufacture the situation that you’re in. And let me tell you in this situation, when you’re dire, what do you think of this? It’d be like, ‘Oh my gosh, I love it’. And what we don’t realize is people have to have this refract reality, and the tradeoffs, this is the other biases that I think people have to adopt when you start to think about jobs is that consumers make tradeoffs, and we need to make tradeoffs and we need to be explicit about that. We don’t need to put £10 of crap into a £5 bag and so part of this is to realize what are those essential things that we have to make it to make it awesome as opposed to what we have to do everything well, which means we do nothing well.

 

Matt Sheppard

Simply adding more is going to satisfy them.

 

Bob Moesta

Yep. And this is where I would say, in the last 15 years, I think we’ve made a living at basically helping people stop features and build a product that is, in most cases people say weren’t complete, but it literally just took off. 

 

Matt Sheppard

You find those few critical dimensions that in a certain context are meaningful. And then you exploit those to help people realize; In this situation when I’m struggling with these things, seeking this outcome, this small set of features and benefits are powerful, but everything else isn’t. That’s the value and the nuance of understanding the difference between, job 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

 

Bob Moesta

Yes. Another one is the notion of the difference between what will cause somebody to buy versus what is going to cause them to use. People confuse this difference where they say, well, any sale is good sales. What we would say is we’ve worked with intercom for a long time, but I came up with a concept of what we call zombie revenue; how many people are paying for your product, but not using it? Or they want to use it here, but they can’t. You start to realize that just because people are buying it, it doesn’t mean they’re using it. To know the zombie revenue numbers is an important thing. One of the tests we have when we’re talking to pupils, how many people are buying but not using? They don’t know. That will tell you a lot about how to think about the demand side better.

 

Greg Engle

As people are listening to this podcast, and taking evaluation of their own biases or their own work. What are some skill sets that people need to have in order to do jobs to be done?

 

Bob Moesta

I’ll start, Matt, you chime in. One is one is just unpacking, being curious and being able to make sure you understand what people mean, by the words that they use. What I feel is for every 10,000 words somebody says, most people don’t understand 5% of what they mean, it’s that aspect of being able to slow down the conversation. It’s about actually understanding their life, understanding what are the triggers? Understanding what are the measures? How do they know that they are making progress? 

 

Part of this is the devil’s in those details, but the aspect of one is just making sure you’re unpacking when somebody says, ‘Oh I love this’. Why do you love this? ‘Oh I love this feature’. But why do you love the feature? You’ve got to keep digging past it, what is it? What can you do with it that you couldn’t do before? The whole notion of unpacking is a big skill. To be honest, I don’t really care if you’re doing jobs or not. Unpacking is one of those things that you can’t walk in the door here and not be prepared to unpack or at least, there’s no way to say anything remotely.

 

Matt Sheppard

I like it. I love it. I want it.

 

Bob Moesta

Yeah, this is where we end up having two-hour debates around that kind of stuff. 

 

Matt Sheppard

So why do you want it Matt? Just to add to that, this is one of the things I think people don’t get, when we say the term unpacking, and we throw around those phrases of you need to dig deeper. The goal, although it’s not always possible, is to unpack language that someone is using down to as concrete as you can get in their life. We want actions and metrics that are meaningful to them. When you start getting down to someone saying I love this because it enabled me to do this, and I evaluated the success or failure of that using this metric, you’ve unpacked it. It’s not always possible to get there, but that should be your goal.

 

Bob Moesta

Well, the other part is that sometimes people can’t articulate what they want, but they can articulate what they don’t want. For example, we can talk about it being easy, then they’ll say, ‘Well, I just want it to be simple so I can remember it’. Well tell me what hard is like, there’s 15 steps in this thing, I don’t need 15 steps. So, sometimes the metric is the opposite of what it is. The reality is to know where the threshold becomes too hard. For example, anything more than 10 steps is probably too hard.

 

Matt Sheppard

To bring this back to your question Greg, the bias that people would have to get rid of, to be able to use jobs. This goes partially to what Bob already said, which is thinking they understand what someone means, just by the word. I know what that word means therefore, I understand what that person is trying to do, that’s where the gap occurs.

 

Greg Engle

I think what you both are hinting around is, is listening skills.

 

Matt Sheppard

100% active listening would be the packed version of that is active listening. Oh, I actively listened to people.

 

Greg Engle

I heard packing is one of those skills in listening. What are others?

 

Matt Sheppard

This might be a stretch but I think about when we’re having conversations, as people talk about it fitting into their lives, as almost like a system, is this an outcome they want? Is this an input that they have? Is this a trigger? There’s a way in which to categorize the things that they’re saying so we can see cause and effect. The other thing is, we’ll listen to a conversation and go ‘Okay, wait a second, I’m confused, I don’t know, you talk about trust is essential to this process’. Is trust an output of this process? Or is trust an input to the process to make the process work? Most people just look at you like; we all want trust. But where is trust being made? How is child trust being made? Is it a prerequisite to get to this step? Or is it not a prerequisite to get the step? And how do we know that we have trust?

 

Bob Moesta

How is what I define trust as, is that the same as what you define it as?

 

Matt Sheppard

Exactly right. This is where the emotional, social, and functional pieces have to come together to be executed so you can cause those things to happen. It’s not only active listening, but active listening with that filter of being able to see what are they really talking about when they’re saying these words? Those are the two big skills that I think about it, or you can say it’s all one because that’s active listening. 

 

Greg Engle

Well, I think we all shudder at the word active listening because it means so many different things to different people. We’re trying to define what is listening from rewires perspective? What I’ve heard so far is unpacking and systems thinking are two pieces of listening rewired style. Are there others?

 

Matt Sheppard

Yeah, I would say, the idea of robustness. We evaluate whether something someone says is noise, or a signal, and whether they have control over it, or they don’t. That’s a weird concept for the people external to rewired. But internally, we’re using that to determine; Is what they’re saying even meaningful? Is what they’re saying worth pursuing and unpacking or not? That skill takes a lot of practice.

 

Bob Moesta

It’s signal versus noise, it’s this aspect of being able to understand, the way Taguchi would always tell me, any system we’re building has a finite set of control factors but has an infinite set of noise factors. Part of it is how are we going to be able to sift the wheat from the chaff and understand what are the essential things? Greg, the words you use all the time is what’s the intent? That word intent is very precious for us here, understanding intent is not one word, but there’s a set of words, it’s a set of mechanisms of context and progress and outcomes. 

 

It’s all those things that get to what’s their intent of what they want to do, so, those are words that I think really help people understand once they understand how to listen better, they can see it through systems thinking, and then they understand and get to the intent. It’s interesting when we’re interviewing people, they’ll want to talk about the product, we’ll literally go like, I don’t really want to talk about the product, I want to talk about why do you like that feature in the product? And what can it help you do that you can’t do now? 

 

Part of this is frustrating for some people who are so used to doing research around the product that they don’t understand. What we’re really trying to do is to find the hole we’re trying to fit in not the solution that we’re trying to give to them. Once we see the hole or the problem or have a 360 or 720 degree view of what they’re trying to do, actually making the product as easy. 

 


Greg Engle
It’s easier.

Bob Moesta
Easier, Thank you. Thank you for that Greg


Matt Sheppard

One thing I want to add to that Greg is, the product, this is another bias people are going to get rid of. Their solution is not the job.

Bob Moesta
Their solution does the job

Matt Sheppard
Their solutions satisfy a job or does not satisfy a job but it is not the job.

 

Greg Engle 

The job is the tool to which I get my job to be done. We debate that all the time here because Bob said the word well it does a job, but does it really do the job? Or are you doing the job and it just helps you do the job?

Matt Sheppard
It helps you do the job, you’re right. 

 

Greg Engle 

It’s something we argue about all the time here. If the big three and rewired listening, is unpacking systems, systems thinking, and signal to noise, is the best way I can describe that one. Tell me a little bit from each of your perspectives. What is the goal of unpacking? Why is it important to do? Why are we doing it, and I think we’ve covered it, but I just want to kind of wrap it up in a bow.

 

Matt Sheppard

Mine is really the focus on getting from what I call abstract to concrete, I want to be able to get down to when they say easy, what are the five things I got to do? When I understand where they’re trying to go and why they can’t go there. What are the things I need to eliminate or enable? It’s taking the very abstract words of easy, fun, fast, convenient, refreshing and breaking it down into its components to understand how we build it? How do we make sure that we’re clear on what they mean by it as opposed to our definition of what they mean by it.

 

Greg Engle 

So it gives us their intent, and their measures?

 

Bob Moesta

The other part is their measures of progress, because at some point, trying to understand what people say and what they do, it’s the real measure of how do they know that they’ve made progress?

 

Greg Engle 

And Matt, how do we know when we’re done unpacking? 

 

Matt Sheppard

You should almost assume you’re never done unpacking. You should assume that whatever answer you have, the language is insufficiently unpacked. That should be your assumption.

 

Bob Moesta

I always think about as we try to unpack to the edge of articulation, where at some point, I have no other words, and what that does is says now we have to do benchmarking. That’s where we’ve got a whole product or service line around helping people take and put them in context, put them in the job, and then have them look at a set of products through hire and fire criteria and use similar techniques to help us get to very tangible design criteria for what the product has to do.

 

Greg Engle

I have to tell teams; we’re going to unpack to exhaustion.

 

Bob Moesta

That’s a given. 

 

Matt Sheppard

That brings us to one of the other paradigms that they’ve really got to shift, they have to be uncomfortable with a little bit of uncertainty, and a little bit of admission that they don’t have the answer. They’re not going to have the silver bullet and you said that earlier. But they truly are seeking when they do this work, they’re seeking the answer, and there’s not one answer, there’s lots of different answers that we can evaluate using this thought, this methodology.

 

Bob Moesta

That’s right. I think that’s one of the other biases is that there is an answer. What we would say is no, there’s multiple answers. There are always multiple ways to do something.

 

Greg Engle

I’m going to put both of you on the spot. Which is if those are the big three, what would be the big three of the anti-rewired listening? I’ll throw one out there first, so you understand my question. 

The anti-rewired listening is writing verbatims, just writing what people said, that’s anti listening. Because, yes, you’re listening, but you’re not listening to what people say, why they said it, how they said it and all those different things that we want to get to. So that’s the first one for me

 

Matt Sheppard

Well, it’s self-evident. It’s not really a good one, but I would say that this belief that our brand is what causes people to buy, and that brand is a cause instead of an effect.

 

Greg Engle

So, every time someone says I like to use x brand, everybody writes it down and says we’ll see. This is our brand is the reason they buy. That would be an anti-listening thing that was happening. 

 

Matt Sheppard

That’s an anti-listening thing, it’s a philosophical thing, like if you come to rewire it into job has to be done as a methodology and you say, well, it’s all about our brand, if you work with us, you’re not going to like what you hear?

 

Bob Moesta

Well, the brand is just like any other system. There are components to it, it’s usually never the cause, it’s always a set of conditions and a set of outcomes that the brand will fit into and it’s just product is something that you can design to help people have confidence or have an understanding or transmit knowledge in some way or form. But the reality is, it’s not the reason.

 

Matt Sheppard

All those things you said, the confidence, the knowledge that comes through the experience of consumption, and it living up to the expectations of the job that you hired it to do. And once it’s done that successfully, then the brand has meaning, and it might even have value to the consumer. But it’s not the cause, if your brand suddenly fails to deliver or meet the expectations, the brand it gone.

 

Greg Engle

Thank you both for that short answer.

 

Bob Moesta

My last one is focus groups, if you like the whole notion of focus groups and having people react to product in a focus group. From where we sit, the fact is, it’s one of those things that I’m not sure anything useful comes from focus groups anymore. We’ve been doing them for a long time, and we get a lot of verbatims and all that. But it’s like such group thinking, it doesn’t help people understand how it fits into the lives, it might inspire people or aspire people to do things, but it doesn’t actually cause people to do things. You start to realize, how almost comical a focus group, I’d rather put a needle deep into my eye than go to a focus group.

 

Greg Engle 

As we close down this episode, in keeping with tradition, I want to leave everybody with like a final thought or a thing to do, and that thing today is, I want you to think about how you’re doing consumer research. I want you to think about interviews that you’re doing because everybody has consumer interviews, no matter what methodology you’re using. I want you to think about are you truly listening for the metrics of how people are measuring your product or service or the job that you’re getting done? Are you thinking about the systems that you have to employ, or the consumers employing to get them done? Also you’re listening to the ways people are saying things and really unpacking those things. If you answered no to those questions, that’s not what you’re doing, then you might be struggling to find a new way to do, and I think jobs is a great way to do it self-promoting, but I think jobs is a great way to do that. So if you’re struggling with those things, reach out. 

 

But first do the postmortem for yourself of when you’re doing those interviews, are you truly listening for the things that will help you develop, help you sell and help you market because that’s what we’re really trying to help people do.

 

Bob Moesta

Thanks for listening to the circuit breaker podcast. If you haven’t already, please subscribe so you won’t miss an episode. If you know somebody who’s stuck on the innovation treadmill, please share it. If you’d like to learn more information visit us at Xcel rewired group.com To find out how we work how we can help some resources, some books some software. Join us next time as we trip the circuit breaker to help you recharge, re-energize, and refocus your new product development.

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