As entrepreneurs, we’re always looking to draw inspiration from innovators around us. Naturally, we were excited to learn that a member of the Haiku Deck community is doing ground-breaking work related to innovation, and best of all she’s using Haiku Deck presentations to spread the word.
Karen Dillon is the former editor of Harvard Business Review and co-author of two books with Harvard Business School’s Clayton Christensen. How Will You Measure Your Life? was published in 2012. Dillon’s new book with Christensen (co-authored by Taddy Hall and Dave Duncan), Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice, is currently featured on The Wall Street Journal‘s business best-seller list.
As entrepreneurs, we were taken by Dillon and Christensen’s ideas about innovation, and in particular why innovation is so often unsuccessful, in spite of really smart people trying to get it right—and how to, instead, make it far more predictable and successful.
We’re honored that Karen took the time to answer a few questions for us, not only about her book, but also about presentations and the way she uses Haiku Deck to help spread ideas. Here’s Karen’s Haiku Deck about her new book and below excerpts from our interview:
Competing Against Luck in brief: Karen Dillon – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires;
Haiku Deck: One of the key concepts in your book is the “Jobs to Be Done” approach. What does this mean for companies and individuals seeking to innovate in business? Does it apply outside of business?
Dillon: Clay has been working for years on what he calls the Theory of Jobs to Be Done. The idea is that well-intended innovation goes slightly wrong so often because it’s aimed at the wrong thing. We assume we just need to know more and more about the customer, but that’s not right. Just because I’m a middle-aged white woman who lives in suburban Boston doesn’t tell companies why I make the choices I do. Why did I choose to stay in an Airbnb rather than a fancy hotel when I was recently asked to speak at a conference in London? Nothing about my profile could answer that question. What could, however, is understanding what I was ‘hiring’ Airbnb to do. In our language, we say that customer ‘hire’ products or services to do a job for them. In my case, I used to live in London and I ‘hired’ Airbnb so I could feel like a local again. Understanding customers does not drive innovation success. Understanding customer jobs does. There’s a big difference.
It applies outside of business, too. I think about the ‘jobs’ people are hiring me in my life all the time. What does a boss really expect of me? What does my husband expect of me? Key to this concept is that ‘jobs’ are not just functional – they’re emotional and social, as my Airbnb example illustrates. If I can get to the essence of what ‘job’ I’ve been hired for, I’m far more likely to be successful. I think as a professional number two for a lot of years in my career, I intuitively understood that the ‘job’ I’d been hired for was to help my boss sleep well at night. He wouldn’t worry if he knew I was on top of things. That’s very different than saying my job included X and Y and Z responsibilities.
Haiku Deck: As a former Editor of Harvard Business Review, I imagine you’ve seen (and continue to see) quite a few presentations. If you had one piece of advice for all presenters, what would it be?
Dillon: Too many words! And I’m a words person. But there’s nothing more boring than watching someone more or less read bullet points off a slide deck. People don’t prune, they don’t think of the listener. They think about how they won’t mess up or forget something, but it can make for a terrible presentation – including the fact that no one will look at you when you’re speaking; they’ll watch your slides or even worse, look down at your handouts. Which are usually identical to your slides!
Haiku Deck: How do you use Haiku Deck in your work?
Dillon: I don’t make a lot of slide decks, I’m not a PowerPoint jockey. I needed a very simple tool to help me give great speeches. I wanted images that would support the point I’m trying to make and I wanted ‘reminders’ of what I was going to say. I use Haiku Deck as a backdrop, but it’s critical to being able to stand up there and do the speech. At first I tried to create a slide deck on my own, but I quickly realized finding free (and without copyright issues) images was a lot of work and I loved being able to easily explore without those worries on Haiku Deck. I like the consistent look and feel that is created. Basically, I don’t think I could easily create these slide decks – which are critical to my speeches – without Haiku Deck.
Both of Karen’s books are available on Amazon.com. Click to learn more about Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice and How Will You Measure Your Life?