Why do you hire your iPhone for the day? {Jobs to be Done theory}

Everything you buy serves a purpose in your life. When you buy things, you buy them to make your life easier, to entertain you, to feed you, etc. What does your iPhone or Smartphone do for you? Did you buy it for entertainment, for connection, for status? Does it actually help you connect with people, uplift you, make you depressed, instill jealousy, help you create, etc.?

MBA student, Jake Schroeder presented the Jobs to be Done Theory at the 2017 Digital Citizenship Summit. This theory explains that we hire products to do things for us. In other words, we buy things to take care of a need we have.

How to sell more milkshakes

Professor Clayton Christensen, who developed this theory (JTBD – Jobs to be Done), shares an example of a large fast food restaurant who wanted to sell more milkshakes. This company had studied this problem, they brought in people to test the different milkshakes. They asked, “How can we make this better so people will buy more?” After changing the recipe and doing everything they could to improve it, the sales did not increase.

The new question presented by Professor Christensen is, “What job causes you to hire a milkshake?”

He explains how he found the answer, “We sat in a restaurant and took careful data of who was buying the milkshakes. We learned half the milkshakes were bought before 8am, by people alone, who had a long and boring drive to work. They just needed something to do while they drove. A banana, donut, or bagel were not fulfilling the need they had. If you understand the job, how to improve the product becomes more obvious.”

The restaurant learned that no matter how much they perfected the recipe of milkshakes, they still sold the same amount. However, when they learned the job the milkshake did for customers they could improve a different aspect. Since the milkshake’s job was for a morning commute ride, they made an easy to access milkshake machine for quick drive-through convenience. Thus, increasing sales.

A phone’s job

Later that night, at the #UseTech4Good Youth Extravaganza, Meg Pugsley used this Jobs to be Done theory in her presentation about the job an iPhone or Smartphone does for you.

Meg wanted an iPhone to fulfill her need of fitting in and not being the weird kid. However, her parents stuck her with a dreaded flip phone. Oh the shame! I mean, really, could her parents care any less about her social status?

Luckily, Meg eventually found the positive side. She says it allowed her to realize how a phone is just a tool to get a job done. She could connect with others and then live her life. By the time she got her own iPhone, she felt ready to use that tool for good and not rely on it throughout the day to fill loneliness, boredom, or other needs a phone may fill. Knowing how to use and being prepared for an iPhone may help reduce likelihood of addiction and other mental health problems associated with technology use.

She talks about the job a phone does for you, as well as the job you use the phone to complete.

We can use our phones to make the world or our community a better place, or we can use them to waste time. What job will you get done using your phone today?

Watch or read her story below.

Life with a flip phone

“I want to talk to you a little bit about my experiences with phones throughout the years. Before I got a phone, I had my instagram, I had my pinterest, I had my iTouch. I was all excited to get my iPhone, but my parents had other ideas. I ended up with a flip phone. Here it is, yeah, it’s got a little keyboard, it’s great. There were good things and bad things about it. At first I was super ashamed about it.

“I was like, all my friends have these iPhones and smart phones, and here I am with this little junky phone. Everyone is going to think I’m weird. But, eventually, I came to appreciate it. So I had my different tools of technology to use and I made sure these tools were working for me. I had my computer that I did my homework, my typing, and looking on the internet. Then I borrowed my mom and dads phone if I needed to take a picture or listen to music. Then I had my flip phone for calling and texting.

“I really came to appreciate this phone because it taught me that I don’t really need a phone in my life.”

“I can learn to be social and talk to other people without a smart phone. It’s also great because it’s totally unbreakable unlike a lot of smartphones that just fall to the ground and crack. I had a nice little brick phone that never broke. I was able to get a good sense of direction because I didn’t have my maps app.

“I now have an iPhone, so I have learned from both sides of the picture. What I’ve learned from my little flip phone is really valuable to me. What I learned is that my phone is a tool and even though smart phones are really convenient, I almost liked my flip phone better because it did not distract me during the day. I didn’t spend time on it like I do on my iPhone.

“But, at that same time, now that I do have an iPhone I learned to use my smart phone in order to get jobs done. It’s really nice how everything is conveniently located on your smart phone. You have your directions, apps, internet, photo, music, I think that’s so great. I think that smart phones are such a great tool for us to do entertainment, to uplift others through social media, and things like that. But, also we need to make sure they are being used as a tool. So when we go forward, let’s make sure we’re using our smart phones to make the world a better place. And we’re working with our smart phones to get things done instead of working for them and spending time on them.”

“So when we go forward, let’s make sure we’re using our smart phones to make the world a better place. And we’re working with our smart phones to get things done instead of working for them and spending time on them.”

The Jobs to Be Done Theory

Watch below the Jobs to Be Done Theory explained. Jobs to be Done can completely change how you look at everything you buy and use.

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