Job-to-be-done theory is part of Clayton Christensen's thinking framework for investigating Disruption Theory. Rather than thinking in product categories and market segments, ask what is the job the customer is hiring this product to do?

A classic illustration of job-to-be-done thinking is Theodore Levitt's quip that people don't want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole.

If you're a drill company, missing this distinction causes you to fixate on competing symmetrically with other drill manufacturers on specs — drill speed, power, cost, whatever. Meanwhile some other easier way of making quarter-inch holes can come along and blow you out of the water.


Related: The Inovator's Dilemma.