The Job To Be Done

May 14, 2018 · 2 min read

As a non-profit, we borrow heavily from our friends in the design and startup communities to find vocabulary and frameworks that push us towards better serving students.

Among others, we’ve co-opted the lean canvas, human centered design, hypothesis testing, venture-style fundraising, and rapid prototyping to re-frame how we approach our work.

While we’ve found personas a helpful decision making framework, we’re now supplementing it with our newest HBR jargon, Christensen’s Jobs To Be Done.

In short, it means customers hire products to solve problems. Here’s an example:

In our work supporting post-traditional students, we might think students want a degree that offers flexibility and support, and we’d be wrong.

There’s two main job to be done. The first is finding a better job — and competency-based education is the most efficient route. The second is a student proving (either to themselves or others) they can earn a degree. It’s an intrinsic motivation rooted in prior education, their family’s story, and internal identity.

Same decision, vastly different motivations, both deeply meaningful.

Now we’re asking the same question for employers. We believe the most effective way to find the 300,000 working adults in Austin who started college and haven’t yet finished is through the places they work — and after sorting by degree, internal mobility, investment in education, and industry size we’ve landed on three target industries:

  • Call Centers
  • Supply Chain & Logistics
  • Grocery

Over the next week, we’ll talk to experts in each to gauge the job to be done. Here’s our hunch -

For employers, the job to be done is taking away the worry of human capital (hiring, training, retaining, ups killing) so their key staff can focus on growing their business.

Whatcha think — anything you’d change? If so, we’d love to hear.

Impact Hub Austin | Workforce Development Accelerator


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PelotonU provides working students a personalized pathway to graduate from college on-time and debt-free.

Impact Hub Austin | Workforce Development Accelerator

Solving one of Austin's most pressing issues

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