Building our personas using Jobs-To-Be-Done

Our Personas — reflection on Jobs To Be Done

(6min read)

How we are building this

Part I

The main assumption came from our experience building a Design Thinking Community of Practice for Nestlé. It is after the trainings when things get challenging for the newly trained coaches. Since each of them has a different reality and role inside the organisation, their situations are so unique that a training cannot give all the answers. They build them on the go. So we decided to create a new set of services for newly trained Design Thinking coaches who are starting to introduce the method inside organisations.

After mapping out a user journey on how a roll out of Design Thinking could look like inside companies, we realised that actually the needs of these coaches evolve depending of which stage of the journey they are. So the same person could be different personas and therefore have different needs along the road. That’s why we decided to focus more on Jobs To Be Done and leave persona descriptions aside in order to get more concrete.

Jobs To Be Done

“Personas look at roles and attributes. JTBD looks at situations and motivations”. This framework asks us to evolve from “needs”, which most of the time end up being functional, into a more comprehensive framework that includes the context and the emotional and social aspects of the progress a person is trying to achieve. Then the resulting services will speak clearly to the users because they add value in different dimensions of their struggle.

After some interviews, we have identified two user groups, take a look to the first one:

The Fresh Coach!


These people have just left an amazing Design Thinking training. They experienced how effective and delightful it is to work in a team with creative methods that push into creating tangible solutions. They see how valuable the methodology is but also how different it is from what they’re used to do. They are inspired, refreshed and ready to work with DT everyday and forever!

Like in Plato’s cave, The Fresh Coach have seen the light and want to show it to their peers. But once back in the “cave”, people find it hard to understand what they have experienced . On the other side, The Fresh Coaches find it hard to articulate what they learned to inspire others to try it out. Where to start? Common questions: What kind of projects can benefit from DT? How can I design and organize a workshop for my peers if I have only coached few times? How can I be sure that my workshop will deliver the outcomes my peers expect? What would they think of me telling them to work so different from what we’re used to?

Jobs To Be Done

Now as Christensen says, Jobs To Be Done are like a mini documentary of your user. So we tried to write it using the well known framework of: “When I (Situation), I want (Progress I try to achieve), So I (Expected outcomes)”

“WHEN I come back to work after a Design Thinking training, I WANT TO feel confident to guide teams working with the method SO they can create more innovative solutions for the company”

We had the feeling the framework was missing somehow the roadblocks, which explain the context better to design more focused solutions. Therefore we added a BUT to generate some creative tension. So let’s see some jobs we fleshed out:

WHEN I come back to work after a Design Thinking training, I WANT TO feel confident to guide teams working with the method SO they can create more innovative solutions for the company BUT…

… I have little experience and have no one to validate my approach.

… my manager is expecting quick results and I cannot tell him the training was not enough.

… my colleagues are skeptic to try out and I don’t know how to convince them

… I need to keep up with my D2D and have no time to create the materials needed

The Jobs changed a lot when adding the roadblocks, some are functional but mainly emotional. As we can see, depending on the job we choose or how we combine them, solutions will be different.

  • Depending on how much context you add to a JTBD the solution becomes more concrete.
  • It is important to understand the whole context in which the user is immersed to create better fitting solutions for them.

Do you feel identified or know someone in these situations? What other challenges or opportunities The Fresh Coach encounters? Do you think this is all wrong and the reality is different? Let us know your thoughts! We are more than happy to get some feedback!

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