Book Review: Competing Against Luck

Competing Against Luck is written by Clayton Christensen and co-authors. Its is about Jobs Theory (fully the Theory of Jobs to be Done). The central construct of a ‘Job’ that a product or service is ‘hired’ to do or ‘fired’ for not doing. Authors argue that successful innovation is not dictated by luck; it’s predicated on a company’s ability to uncover, define, and organize to deliver on a Job to be Done (implicitly or explicitly).

The core idea of a Job to be Done is intuitive: people don’t want products, they want to make progress in their life. Job must be fulfilled at functional, social, and emotional levels.

The book goes from Milkshake experiment to building the culture of the organization so everyone would know customer’s needs instead of just knowing the product, the ways companies measuring important data points (and how they do know what to measure), and finally, the book discusses the criticism around this theory. I appreciate the simple language of the book along with explanations around well-known goods and services: milkshake and banana, Ikea furniture, mattresses etc.

It stresses on going out of the building, watch and understand what your customer truly need (she may say about one thing but really “hire” another one), focus and measure things which will allow to stay focused on base characteristics (like Amazon’s “vast selection, cheap prices, fast delivery”), create processes and culture.

Hire this book if you’re looking to add to your understanding of Jobs To Be Done. It’s an easy read and can be completed in a week.

The takeaways and questions for leaders at the end of each chapter will help busy readers let the main ideas stick.

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