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Competing Against Luck

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  3,722 ratings  ·  342 reviews
The foremost authority on innovation and growth presents a path-breaking book every company needs to transform innovation from a game of chance to one in which they develop products and services customers not only want to buy, but are willing to pay premium prices for.

How do companies know how to grow? How can they create products that they are sure customers want to buy?
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 4th 2016 by Harper Business
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Tonybolero For me this is the first book that manages to bring clarity to the user need part of a innovation project. All other sources that I have used to answe…moreFor me this is the first book that manages to bring clarity to the user need part of a innovation project. All other sources that I have used to answer the question has always been too fussy or to concrete on what to build. Personas, user journeys, user stories etc all tries to answer it but doesn't nail it as well as the JTBD theory imho.

There is accually a comment in the book that states that JTBD could perfectly being used together with other design thinking methods. (less)
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Raymond Hofmann
Nov 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
More than 10’000 business books are published each year and most of them are rubbish. But every year there are also some gems. And among the gems there’s usually a few candidates for the business book hall of fame. True greats that hold timeless wisdom - content that will be relevant for many, many years to come.

Competing against Luck by Clayton Christensen, Taddy Hall, Karen Dillon and David S. Duncan is one of them. It’s a book about innovation and customer choice.
Innovation is the lifeblood
Dec 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I have read about Clayton Christensen’s theory on disruption and also his work, this is his first book that I read. After wanting to read his work for long, I have finally got to it.

The book discusses how innovation need not be about luck. There is a way to innovate and most companies can find. This is where “Jobs Theory” comes in – innovation is not about asking the customer what they want or the problems they face, more importantly it works when you understand what job the customer is t
Otis Chandler
Jul 26, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-deck
Brandi recommends
Adrian S
Apr 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having been active in Computer Science my whole life (since high school), I was always exposed to an endless stream of conversations around the subject of "startups" and "innovation", that after a few years becomes repetitive and very hard to take seriously.

I think this book helped rehabilitate the two words in my mind, and managed to express in simple and clear terms, via "The Theory of Jobs", what the difference is between "wantrepreneurism" and products that people can't resist paying for.
Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots to digest here and I think I'll need a re-read to get everything out of it. Seems like a very useful and focused approach to understanding product development and innovation. Now I'm curious about applying these ideas to platform and service engineering. Going to be thinking about this one for a while, I'm sure. ...more
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From our beloved professor who came up with the Innovator's Dilemma, Christensen's now back with a book 20 years later. The title "Competing Against Luck" does not really describe what the book is about. This is Christensen's own perspective on Needfinding as most of us know already today, by breaking it down into atomic pieces called "Jobs [by users/customers] to be Done". He drills in the same concept repeatedly to the reader chapter after chapter applied to different contexts. For those who a ...more
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jobs Theory (fully the Theory of Jobs to be Done) is framed around the central construct of a 'Job' that a product or service is 'hired' to do or 'fired' for not doing. Clayton Christensen and co-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 th
Harshdeep Singh
Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Makes a good case for first principles. Why does someone use your product? What's the job they hire it for? Once you understand what they want to accomplish, you can figure out ways to help them to do it. There are some good insights on how "active" metrics can distort the world view with fake precision, and how processes and org structure can be a way to orient people around customers' "jobs to be done". It's a minor peeve but some case studies didn't add much to the message and could've been s ...more
Prasanna Sridharan
Jul 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
A mentor suggested me this book and I am glad he did. Often in my career I have had heard topics that "we need to innovate more or we need to innovate now". I would be skeptical as to how can innovate be a planned verb? It must be a light-bulb moment or an "aha!!" moment.
However this books has some answers, it may not be a silver bullet, however it helps think in the right direction. It gives some points / samples / examples to start looking at.
A good read overall!
May 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this book Christensen et al take aim at the long-held notion that luck need be a significant part of success, arguing that a proper understanding and application of the "Theory of Jobs" can dramatically de-risk new ventures. I'm folding their insights into the service offerings of my own business as an 'ethnography of demand' market research phase, but the book rightly argues that a clear 'job spec' expressed in verbs and nouns at the proper level of abstraction can act as an effective standa ...more
the most recent book by prof. Clayton M. Christensen dedicated to the theory of "job to be done" which provides the framework of discovering true underlying needs of your customer. So you may build the organizaion around the customer's real underlying needs and instead of focusing on just features.

The book goes from Milshake 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 da
Felipe Gonçalves Marques
This book presents the idea of Job to Be Done and proposes it as a theory to make innovation more predictable and not lucky.

It is a very interesting idea, and it is sell by the author very well. But, looking at other books, such as
"Corporate Startup", the idea of building an innovative ecosystem is still to create a favorable environment that help to spawn ideas. This contrast, in my opinion, is due to the fact that the Job To Be Done is directed to a specific Job, while building an ecosystem i
Daniil Lanovyi
An updated, modern guide to jobs-to-be-done theory. Well-structured, practical read with multiple examples and illustrations to the theory. Some stories might sound familiar for those who were following the author's work. A highly useful resource for everyone who's building a business.

“Creating the right experiences and then integrating around them to solve a job, is critical for competitive advantage. That’s because while it may be easy for competitors to copy products, it’s difficult for them
Jan 21, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was absolutely enlightening! I feel like anyone, anywhere who completes ANY job would benefit from reading this and getting to the crux of what their individual "job to be done" is. Leaders would benefit greatly from this book as well as it is an easy to understand framework of getting away from the "fluff" of managing and leading and really understanding people's roles in organizations but more importantly how they all interact in order to complete the "jobs to be done". Loved it, mad ...more
Maciek Wiktorowski
If you are looking for a book that might inspire you for thinking differently about your products or services, this is a book for you. It explains the Jobs to be Done Theory (JTBD Theory), that learns us how to think about the products/services not from a perspective of the product/service itself, but from the perspective of the job that the customer is trying to accomplish with using the product/service.

For decades managers were taught to think about target groups, thinking about the customers
Ralf Kruse
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book gave me a lot of insights on what job stories are about. Really like on how the author takes us on the journey to see on how this concept can be applies and make da difference.
Found the book highly inspiring.
So far the best book I read on this topic.
Lukas Vermeer
Although Jobs To Be Done seems like a useful conceptual framework to shape customer centric thinking, I am missing validation; both of the framework construct described, and as a crucial part of the application of the framework itself. How will we know we have found the right Job?
Moshe Mikanovsky
Got to think about the jobs. Got to think about the jobs. Let’s do it people!
Bogdan Florin
Jul 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you have read The Innovator’s Dilemma or How Will You Measure Your Life books, well, there is something that you have probably missed from the legendary Harvard professor Clay Christensen.

When I saw the title, Competing against luck, I didn't know what to expect, except a well-thought book. After finishing it I believe it's a very simple, and irrational way to look at how to make business more successful. It guides business owners and professionals not only on what to think but also how to t
Jan 25, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-work
Finally done! Nice when the last ~30 pages consist of long thank-yous and a giant index.

Context: the COO of my company asked me to read this, with the assumption that it would change my way of thinking about how we perform user research (aka how I do my job). Well, it didn't much work. Essentially, the theory expounded upon in this book is essentially the same as user experience at its core when viewed through the lens of capitalism.

In essence, I agree with many of the things this book posited.
Rick Wilson
This book boils down to the question. What job am I hiring this product to do?
I like the theory and will likely use it descriptively in work. But I’m not sure this is quite the all encompassing theory that the author proposes. It seems to both be warning against and made of the narrative fallacy.

To provide a counter example. What differences do you observe between a Segway, Bird, roller skates, and a Bicycle? The theory is useful in so much as it makes sense of who succeeds after all is said a
Bill de hÓra
Jan 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, 2017
Hire this book if you're looking to add to your understanding of Jobs To Be Done.

The topic, Jobs To Be Done (JTBD), has relatively little material available, given its potential impact. Jobs To Be Done is arguably as important if not a more important shift in thinking than Disruptive Innovation, especially for product development and customer happiness.

The anecdotes were insightful and varied, especially valuable for those in established industries. There are concepts, like little hires and com
Zahedul Amin
Jan 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Christenson, the innovation guru, adeptly promotes the concept of ‘job theory’ with lots of case studies, explaining the different facades of the theory. The book takes a deep dive into consumer psyche, while they make decisions for purchasing different goods and services. According to the author, innovation stems from fully deciphering the reasons why consumers end up ‘hiring’ a product or service. By fully understanding the jobs performed, entrepreneurs and executive can not only help in impro ...more
Michael Gunnulfsen
What I liked about this book is that it forces you to think about product development in a certain way.
It focuses on what jobs the user does to solve a particular problem, and which product he/she is "hiring" to fix it. Will your solution do the job better then the current solution? It is also important to be aware that there's often more cognitive stress produced by the thought of changing a habit (firing an existing solution), then the positive idea of "hiring" a new fancy product. Another imp
Renato Alves
Nov 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very good book. It revolves around the idea that a customer "hires" or "fires" a product or service to accomplish/perform a task. It tries to teach how one can identify the job the customer is trying to hire.

It also tries to help add the "commander's intent", meaning, add a sense of ownness so that employees can act on their own to accomplish the job the customers are hiring them to do instead of demanding or creating a culture where oversight is necessary to get the job done.

The book is fille
Ronell Smith
Nov 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a business strategist with more than a decade of experience helping brands online and offline, one of the most disheartening occurrences is telling a business owner their idea is unlikely to be (near) as successful as they'd hoped/are hoping. Often this is a result of the business owner understanding (only) their product or service while having little understanding of the marketplace or vertical they now compete in. Simply put, an inability, or willingness, to climb into the minds of prospect ...more
Shubham Bansal
Dec 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Can you remove luck from the equation?

This book provides a perfect method to articulate the very basic and the most important question about your customers - "Why my customer will buy my product/service?". At a very broad level, this seems to be a very obvious theory which you will continuously hear from people around your, surface-entrepreneurs and from news portals covering basic news or even in some highly recommended TED Talks., But when you read this, with every section, it removes layers a
Jonna Higgins-Freese
Cliffs Notes: jobs to be done. If your product is doing a job that customers need done, they will hire it. If not, not. A simple framework that makes so many things make sense. Last night's job to be done for me: provide a healthy supper that wasn't restaurant food (which I'm tired of on this business trip). Things I hired because I found a grocery store in downtown Chicago: fresh raspberries, Greek yogurt, beanitos, and salsa. Lots of protein, a few carbs, a little salt, a little sweet, and all ...more
Kuldeep Dhankar
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book details Prof. Christensen's work on Jobs theory. Really fascinating read and does resonate with anyone who has tried to innovate in an organization that is searching for its core purpose. Introduced me to some excellent concepts like ; Users "hire" products to do a job. the concept of "purpose brands"

Overall a must read however, does get tedious in the middle. The first few and the last chapter are where most of the meat is. Highly recommended all the same.

Suman Srivastava
I am unable to make up my mind about whether the central idea of this book is brilliantly simple or inanely simplistic. Will have to try out these "lenses" to figure out whether they really provide a more useable framework. Worth reading, in any case. ...more
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Clayton M. Christensen is the Robert and Jane Cizik Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, with a joint appointment in the Technology & Operations Management and General Management faculty groups. He is best known for his study of innovation in commercial enterprises. His first book, The Innovator's Dilemma, articulated his theory of disruptive technology.


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