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What To Design .. Not How

Jun 1, 2019 6:08:46 PM / by Travis Jacobs



Who ... What ... Why ... Where ... When


The 5 W's

  1. Who Are They? ... Buyer Persona
  2. What Is The Job To Done?
  3. Why Is This Important?
  4. Where is the finish line ... how do we know when we're done?
  5. When does it need to be done


Who Are They?

  1. detailed buyer persona will help answer the questions along the product development path
  2. Who is your customer ?
  3. Who is Not your customer ?
  4. Who are you designing this for ?


What is the job to be done?

  1. What is the specific problem that you are solving and for Who?
  2. What does the customer value ... what will they pay for?
  3. What does the customer consider waste and excess ... what will they Not pay for?
  4. What do they consider Non Value added?
  5. What are the problems and challenges they face on a daily basis?
  6. What are the wants and needs they have on a daily basis?


 Customer's don't want a quarter inch drill bit, they want a quarter inch hole ... A quarter inch drill bit is a commodity ... a quarter inch hole is NOT!


Problems & challenges are very different than wants and needs.  Wants & Needs are more emotional and psychological.  Whereas Problems & Challenges are more immediate, concrete and visible.  The solutions to problems and challenges are more intellectual and logical, whereas the solutions to wants and needs are more emotional and psychological. 

For example, the world didn't know they wanted and needed an iPhone before Steve Jobs showed it to them. 

The "Problem" that the iPhone "solved" didn't exist before Steve Jobs "invented" it.


Why is this important?

  1. Why is solving this problem important?
  2. What difference will it make?
  3. Why are you solving this problem?
  4. Are you solving the right problem?
  5. Are you asking the right questions?
  6. Why this problem?
  7. Are you getting the right answers to the wrong questions?


Where is the finish line?

  1. What does winning look like?
  2. What is the end state?
  3. How do we know when we are done?
  4. What does good performance look like?
  5. What is a "Win"?
  6. What is the standard of performance?


When does it need to be done?

  1. When does this need to be finished?
  2. Is this reasonable?



Here are the landmines and obstacles

to avoid when developing new products


Common Mistakes


Common Obstacles


Have an innovation challenge you

could use a fresh perspective on?


Let's Talk


Topics: Leadership, Simulation, Communication, Innovation, Execution, Strategy, Tactics, Team, Winning, CEO

Travis Jacobs

Written by Travis Jacobs

Travis is the president of JA Simulations, a product design & development firm in Denver Colorado. We help clients solve problems & get to market faster with innovative & high quality products

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