How to Make Customer-Centricity Part of Your Company’s DNA  

Time and again clients with whom we have worked return to us and share experiences like this one: “I am really impressed by how the results of our recent Outcome-Driven Innovation® (ODI) project changed the way we look at our markets, customers, products, and competitors now! But some people in our organization still think and act very product-centric. How can I make customer-centricity part of the DNA of the entire organization? How can we all pull together?” 

First of all, the data generated in an Outcome-Driven-Innovation® (ODI) project and presented in the ODI Data Model are so universally valid that they can in fact be used for a wide variety of business questions. ODI insights align a growth strategy across different departments by offering a north star for a variety of questions relevant to them: this north star is the customer’s job-to-be-done (JTBD).  

A customer’s job-to-be-done aligns decisions in product management, product development and product portfolio management 

A JTBD is a task or a goal a customer is trying to achieve when using a certain product, service or a bundle of offerings. While the products and services customers “hire” to get their job done continuously evolve, the job-to-be-done itself is the constant in the equation.  

For companies offering solutions this means that every decision and activity grounded on the customer’s job-to-be-done (and the needs connected with this job), is highly relevant to them and is valid in the long-term. 

Product management, product development or product portfolio management are usually the first to recognize the advantages of the ODI Data Model and the Jobs-to-be-Done mindset. ODI insights enable product managers to conceptualize groundbreaking innovations as well as incremental improvements, and they help product developers to create features that customers really want. ODI insights support portfolio managers to identify holes in the existing product portfolio, and provide arguments to devote higher priority to those projects in the development pipeline that will deliver the greatest value.  

How ODI insights inform data-driven decision making throughout the entire organization 

Beyond these classic areas of application, ODI insights can also help to align activities in marketing, sales, R&D, and departments responsible for (digitalization) planning & strategy. Let’s take a closer look on these: 


For the marketing department it is very important to be very close to the customer and to have a deep understanding of his or her needs, wants and aspirations. While needs, wants and aspirations are vague terms that can be interpreted differently, the corresponding “outcomes” in ODI terminology (= metrics customers use to evaluate successful execution of a JTBD) are defined in an exact, unambiguous way. Marketing benefits greatly from this clear view on the needs of their customers. 

Relevant questions supported by ODI insights in marketing are for example:  

  • How can we better position and market our current offerings? 
  • How should we modify our marketing communications? 
  • How should we adjust our content? 
  • How should we inform SEO and AdWords campaigns? 
  • How should we develop our brands? 


The sales department is the one in direct contact to (potential) customers. Sales needs criteria to identify the most valuable customers, and it needs the right arguments to convince them. ODI data can help sales to qualify customers in an outcome-based segment, and to customize sales presentations for prospects in each segment.  


ODI insights provide the R&D department the necessary connection to the market and to customer needs that represent opportunities. Again, as opportunities for growth in an ODI project are formulated in a precise and unambiguous manner, R&D can directly work with them and develop solutions addressing those underserved needs.  

ODI insights can inform the following decisions in R&D:  

  • Build a patent portfolio 
  • Inform R&D investment decisions 
  • Reprioritize development resources 


(Digitalization) Planning & Strategy, and other areas 

Finally, ODI insights can help to formulate a customer-centric digitalization strategy, and to inform M&A investment decisions. They can help to make good strategic technology decisions, and to create ecosystems and platforms around a customer’s job-to-be-done. There is hardly any business area where decision-making cannot be improved by tangible market data.  

Where to start when implementing a customer-centric view across departmental boundaries  

Once a person, a team or a whole department has recognized the advantages of the ODI Data Model and the Jobs-to-be-Done mindset, they may have the desire to share these insights and perspectives across departmental boundaries. Here are some tips for implementing a customer-centric view: 

  • Live customer-centricity in your own department to provide a positive role model within your organization.  
  • Communicate the use and value of ODI insights to neighboring departments. Consider who could benefit most from ODI insights and convince them of the value. 
  • Use successfully conducted Outcome-Driven Innovation® (ODI) projects as a demonstration example. 
  • Be prepared to not only communicate the value of data, but to redefine an entire mindset. This also implies a culture change and cannot be accomplished overnight.  

How does it look in your organization? Which departments are directly focused on the customer? Where could market data contribute to better decisions? Share your opinion and experience with us and let’s get talking. 

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