Clayton M. Christensen brings product improvement down to a simple statement in his presentation at the ECS National Forum on Education Policy: “Understanding the job rather than understanding the customer is the critical insight” (at about 8:30 min in the video).

His example is the buying of milk shakes. Collecting data on who buys milk shakes is not enough. A company also needs to understand why the people buy milk shakes at that particular time. In his example, people buy milk shakes before starting their long commute to have something to do while driving. Thus, the company would do good to bring the shake dispenser to the counter and equip it with a pre-paid swipe card system so that customers – who are in a hurry in the morning – can get their milk shake without having to wait in line. Customers who buy milk shakes in the afternoon will most likely have very different needs and thus the company needs to think about a different strategy to get them to buy more milk shakes.

via @ctscho

A video used to be embedded here but the service that it was hosted on has shut down.

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