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What Job Is Twitter Helping Customers To Do?

| On 30, May 2009

Rod King

Confession of an Early, Remote Customer.


Everyday people use it. Celebrities use it. And even politicians at the national level use it. Yes, it’s Twitter! But, what really is Twitter?



About two and half years ago, I read a posting in Techcrunch about an emerging social network to which members easily became addicted. The social network called “Twitter” allows members to respond to one question: “What are you doing?” A member’s response, however, is limited to 140 characters! Being a technophile, I easily signed up on Twitter’s website. Nevertheless, it took me another two years before I answered Twitter’s question of “What are you doing?” Recently, I’ve been reflecting on why it took me so long to “get it” about Twitter’s innovation. To be honest, I’m still getting it. Now, however, I see immense opportunities in using Twitter.



What has significantly changed over time regarding Twitter? The basic format and structure of Twitter’s website have remained the same. However, my perception of Twitter has been positively transformed. As an innovation, I regarded Twitter’s micro-blogging feature as an example of TRIZ’s Segmentation principle or trend. Nevertheless, I did not want to become a micro-blogger. I usually have a lot to say (;-)!  In addition, I considered the constant question – “What are you doing?” – as an unwelcome invitation to intermittently reveal trivial snippets of my life to the whole world. And I consider myself to be a rather private person. Consequently, I was an early adopter but practically, a ‘remote’ customer of Twitter’s service or social network. For about two years, therefore, I did not consider “hiring” Twitter to help me get any “job” done.  For about two years, I did not see how Twitter could add value to my “jobs.” During that time, I saw Twitter as a social networking platform for broadcasting and receiving trivial information about ‘private and social jobs.’ As time evolved, I gradually realized that Twitter could be hired for doing ‘business jobs.’



“Jobs To Be Done” is a concept that is closely associated with Clayton Christensen, the author of books such as “The Innovator’s Dilemma” and “The Innovator’s Solution.” Jobs To Be Done (JTBD) is a simple but powerful concept especially for uncovering growth opportunities, designing customer-focused products/services, and developing innovative business models. Actually, JTBD involves hierarchical functional thinking which is prevalent in TRIZ. However, JTBD, is framed from the perspective of the customer and consequently, facilitates customer value innovation. JTBD allows someone to see the usefulness of a product or service from multiple perspectives of the customer; a ‘job’ could be technical, social, emotional and/or even political. And a customer could be a private individual, group, business, or non-profit organization.



I admit that for about two years, my perception was limited by looking at Twitter through the ‘private individual’ lens. Seeing Twitter through a ‘business’ lens has really been liberating.



Many people and organizations are now hiring Twitter to do diverse jobs. Are you hiring Twitter to do any job? Why (not)? I’d be interested to hear your comments.



Best,
Rod.