What Job Do You Need Your Website To Do?

December 21, 2020 by David Hauser

Hello fellow innovators and different THNKers. We are rapidly approaching the 6-month anniversary of our THNK.innovation website.

As the design thinkers that we are, we never did look at the website to be something that is done right once and then will be left on its own. But we were looking at it as a growing product that is going to evolve with our increasing understanding of customer needs.

An experience that we would hardly be able to gather without putting this unfinished first prototype out there to learn from. (Actually, the website that we realised in May wasn’t exactly the first THNK.innovation website…but we won’t talk about this ever again)

Hello fellow innovators and different THNKers. Welcome to my second blog about how applied design thinking is evolving the THNK.innovation website.

In my previous blog, we ended with the revelation that the three quotes that I received to build my website were spread out over a vast price range. In fact, the lowest offer was more than 10 times less expensive than the dearest quote that I did receive.


Something couldn’t be right. Right?


I figured that the amount of work that the different vendors were thinking is required to build the website must be very different. The most expensive offer must have accommodated for at least five times the hours to build the website compared to the cheaper one.

How could that be? Either one of them was at least 5 times more efficient than the other or both of them had a vastly different understanding of my requirements.

Were we all on the same page with respect to my expectations of the website? Did we all understand what job I needed the website to do for me?

Job to be done

The “job to be done” framework was created by Harvard professor Clay Christensen.

Dr Christensen is explaining the “job to be done” best with an example based on a project that he and his team conducted for one of the large fast-food chains.

After several tries in boosting their sales of milkshakes, conducting consumer testing and surveys, the client approached Dr Christensen to have a look from another angle onto their challenge. They’ve approached the challenge in two steps:

First, one of his team members sat down in one of the restaurants for one day, observing the customers and their buying behaviour. And what they’ve discovered was quite surprising to them. They’ve learned that the majority of the people were coming to the restaurant alone, were buying just a milkshake and nothing else and had theirs for take-away.

Then the next day, the team was going back to the restaurant. But this time they were placing themselves just outside next to the exits. They were engaging the buyers of the milkshakes in a conversation, and they were asking them what job it is that their freshly purchased milkshake is doing for them.

Jobs to be done with Clay Christensen

What they’ve learned was that most of the buyers had in common that they bought their milkshake in the morning on their drive to work.

  1. They were after something that they can safely consume with one hand while driving.
  2. Something that is keeping them busy for the full 30 minutes of their commute.
  3. And something that is filling enough to get them through the morning without the desire for another snack.

These are the three jobs that the milkshake buyers were looking to get done.

What they needed was a more satisfying and longer-lasting milkshake…a thick shake!


Matching the applicant to the job

Coming back to my website building challenge and the quotes that I did have on my desk. A spread of the price range by a full magnitude made these offers hardly comparable. But what if I could define the jobs that I needed the website to do for me first and then see which of the proposals is ticking most of the boxes?

What are these jobs that the THNK.innovation website does have to do for me?

  1. Creating and growing the business: I’m not investing several thousands of dollars into a website for the sake of having a website. The purpose of the website is to support the growth of THNK.innovation by helping potential clients to find me on the internet. And then to convince them that it is worth their time to engage with me and explore if they want to allow me to prove the value of my services to them.
  2. Grow and change with me and THNK.innovation: It is in the early stages of a new business when we learn the fastest. Any business model is a collection of assumptions in the first place. Some of these assumptions will prove to be right and working, others not so much. Whenever the second happens, and I do have to adjust the business model, the website and its communication must follow suit.
  3. Make me more independent: Whoever I’m going into business with must put my success 1st and is empowering my independence. In the case of the website, this means that the design and UI must make it easy for me to modify content as well as most of the user experience myself. If at all, then I only want to have to go back to my developer to add functionality but not for repetitive updates.


Equipped with this clear understanding, I went back to the quotes and reviewed how each of them did promise to satisfy each of the three jobs that I need to be done.

Vendor A only gave me the confidence to do job No 2. And this was mainly due to the low-price tag which would have allowed me to pay for quite some updates before reaching the prices that the other two quoted.

Vendor B, and established agency with defined products and services, convinced me that their product would do a little bit of everything but mainly on their terms. Yet with them, I felt too much like a passenger on my own journey instead of steering my destiny.

I opted for vendor C. It wasn’t because I did trust them to do all the required jobs in high quality straight away. But I had high confidence that they would have the patience to grow with me and the business. And this would then allow us to gradually progress and improve in getting the other two jobs done, too.

Additionally, they were operating out of the same office as I do. Therefore, communicating directly with the developers was much more comfortable than with the other two vendors who had at least parts of the work offshored.


Finally, we were ready to get started building a website!


And if you want to know what we’ve learned during the build, which compromises I had to accept and more…then stay tuned for the next part of this blog.


If you missed out on the first part then just click here

Do you want to know how I resolved this wicked problem applying the design thinking methodology and the “Jobs to be done” framework?

Then subscribe to our newsletter now and don’t miss any of the other parts of this blog series about applied design thinking and continuous improvement.


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