ODI Practitioner Insights: An Interview with Marco de Polo from Roche Diabetes Care (Part 1)

It is quite rare for a company to open up and offer a true and detailed insight into their unique practices and experiences on their path to becoming more customer-centric. However, our long-standing client Marco de Polo from Roche Diabetes Care does exactly this in this interview with Martin Pattera. Roche Diabetes Care is a global leader in integrated diabetes management and pioneers innovative diabetes technologies and services. Marco outlines what effects the implementation of the Outcome-Driven Innovation® mindset and methodology had on their company culture, organization and strategy. He explains what it meant for product development, commercial departments and top level management to work with this new approach. Finally he gives practical recommendations for companies that would like to implement Jobs-to-be-Done and Outcome-Driven Innovation® to evolve into a customer-centric organization.

Thank you Marco for sharing these valuable insights with our readers!

Martin: How did Jobs-to-be-Done and Outcome-Driven Innovation® help you uncover growth opportunities?

Marco: First of all, JTBD helped us to identify customer opportunities defined by underserved segments, served segments and overserved segments. This helped our organization to target the right segment for value creation and it was the key to informing and accelerating important business decisions.

What kind of business decisions were supported by Jobs-to-be-Done and Outcome-Driven Innovation® insights?

We use JTBD & ODI to inform three levels of decision making. First, we inform the strategy: The identified customer opportunities help us to decide where we want to play in the future (in which customer problem space and in which business), how we want to play in this business (with what solutions) and how we want to win.

The second category are decisions that help our product organizations to build the right product pipeline, so we can address the identified customer opportunities.

And third, we inform how commercial teams target the right customers in the market: Focusing on commercial targeting, driving messaging and positioning to help our organization to retain customers, but to also grow the market.

What was the impact of Jobs-to-be-Done and Outcome-Driven Innovation® on your product development?

The biggest impact we generated for product development was streamlining of the development pipeline. We had a clearer direction on which investments we should make in the early stages of product development. This helped our organization to minimize the waste of resources that occurs when you invest into the wrong solutions and develop those that actually never address unmet customer needs.

What is your experience regarding commercial departments when dealing with the customer insights identified by Jobs-to-be-Done and Outcome-Driven Innovation®?

My experience has been extremely positive with the Sales and Marketing department. They have a big appetite for more precise definitions of customer problems and customer needs, they want to understand why and when a need is unmet and they also want to understand the context. We invest heavily into visualizing the context around a job-to-be-done, for example by developing job and need-based customer journeys. JTBD helps us recognize where a certain job-to-be-done is in the progression of a disease like diabetes, and that helps the commercial department to identify where in the customer journey they need to target the right segments for the right product at the right time.

How did Jobs-to-be-Done and Outcome-Driven Innovation® actually affect your company’s bottom line results?

That’s a very challenging question. I wouldn’t say that there is one particular element that helps us to drive the bottom line, rather there are multiple elements. But the immediate impact that we see in our organization is the minimization of inefficiencies. So, we helped the organization to focus on the right priorities and invest into the right solutions early, increasing the likelihood that those solutions actually deliver a commercially viable business model later.

Apart from the business results, we want to talk about culture and mindset. My question here is: How did the introduction of Jobs-to-be-Done and Outcome-Driven Innovation® affect the innovation mindset and the culture within your company?

One of the most important effects on the innovation mindset is that we now have a common language to define what a customer need is, within our organization. And that’s been a struggle in the past. I always say: “How is it possible that an organization can deliver value to the market if value hasn’t been defined?” JTBD thinking helps to find a common definition of what a customer need is, and what the difference between a met and an unmet need is. It also helps us to understand what value metrics customers use, and to recognize if and how we can address important problems for them.
So it’s really about language and alignment in the organization! The key is also not to worry about what customers do today, but to try to understand what our customers want to achieve and/or avoid at the end of the day.

How did Jobs-to-be-Done and Outcome-Driven Innovation® affect the way you make decisions?

There are two ways of decision making: “evidence based decision making” versus “opinion based decision making”. We have a lot of subject matter experts in the organization, when it comes to technology and commercial business models. But at the front end, when it comes to understanding customers, it’s more difficult to generate evidence. The JTBD approach helps us to identify metrics that we can use to measure customer needs. ODI is a methodology that has a qualitative part followed by quantitative validation. So the jobs and the met and unmet needs, are to some extent validated. And thus we have more confidence in our decisions.

What is your experience with the combination of Jobs-to-be-Done and Outcome-Driven Innovation® insights with other types of insights that you might already have had in your corporation or that you generated in a different format?

Our challenge is that we have generated a lot of insights over the past years, based on different methodologies. And the question I am often confronted with is: “Why do we need additional research?” It is true that we’ve already done a lot of research, but when you look at the results, the metrics can’t be compared. So right now we’re trying to build consistency across our research approaches. We need to be able to compare opportunities across different stakeholders, for example payers, healthcare professionals, patients, caregivers and so forth. This will also allow us to understand what the ecosystem opportunities are, that means the met and unmet needs shared by multiple stakeholders. This is really important to understand if we want to generate new value.

Would you see Jobs-to-be-Done and Outcome-Driven Innovation® as a framework that supports a specific phase in the innovation process or does it cover the whole process?

I absolutely see it as a universal approach, it can be applied across the End-to-End process; like in the front end when we are searching for a customer or searching for new problems and then when we are searching for solutions and also at the end when we are searching for new business models. So it’s really the input for the entire End-to-End process and it’s also essential for commercialization. So I don’t think that ODI is limited to one specific business element.

Do you have experience with radical innovation or disruptive innovation successes related to Jobs-to-be-Done and Outcome-Driven Innovation®?

The radical innovation that we experience within Roche Diabetes Care is often related to technology innovation. But the commercial departments, who are very close to the market, are also exploring really disruptive business models. That’s certainly an area where JTBD & ODI helps in guiding the direction; not necessarily pinpointing where the opportunities are, but offering good directions and a good starting point.

Thank you Marco for these insights!

Part 2 of this interview blog will deal with organizational anchoring of Jobs-to-be-Done and Outcome-Driven Innovation®. Marco describes what organizational roles Roche Diabetes Care needed to develop to fully benefit from the approach, how JTBD & ODI is aligned and supported by the top management and he gives his personal future vision of the healthcare market. Stay tuned!

Marco is also one of our speakers at the 2nd JTBD SUMMIT EUROPE. He will hold a keynote on “Outcome-Driven Innovation Applied to Strategy – An Opportunity Driven Approach and Process to Strategy Development”. See the full program on our event website. 

Roche & Edizon: How the customer's JTBD accelerates decision making from strategy to product launch

Listen to the case study with Martin Pattera from Edizon and Marco De Polo from Roche. This track talk was recorded at the Innovation Roundtable® Summit 2018 in Copenhagen.

JTBD Summit , 24. Mar - 25. Mar, 2021


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