Being Human: Identifying Jobs to be Done in Fintech

Dhanum Nursigadoo
5min read

Jobs to be done (JTBD). It’s an interesting phrase. Pithy, agile-sounding, and adaptive. It’s about bringing humanity to an industry that sometimes forgets about it.

I spoke to Ryan Garner, Innovation and Insight lead at 11:FS about what it means to introduce jobs to be done to the fintech space. And how being human is core to delivering a meaningful product. Ryan knows the only way for fintech to succeed is to understand people.

Focus on the Jobs

Jobs to be done is the reason why Ryan joined the 11:FS team a few months ago. Using it he’s had a huge impact in how we shape propositions for clients. He finds ways of identifying opportunity areas for new propositions. It’s what happens when you have an outcome driven and focused view of the world.
Incumbent banks have a productised view of the world. But do people want those products? - Ryan Garner
He’s been steeped in the ethos of JTBD since 2007, when the smartphone revolution first hit. Starting off in mobile, Ryan examined how to deliver life services in the developing world; Weather reports to farmers and English lessons over mobile. There was a plethora of core services that were now deliverable thanks to new technology. And it wasn’t from using a shotgun approach. Unfortunately, this requires intensive research. In a post-truth world, finding and unlocking the truth is a complex process. Ryan didn't give me a reason why finding the truth is so difficult. But our conversation raised some suspicions. It seems, even though people don’t know what they want, they are great at talking about their pain points. JTBD is not so easy that you can just ask a few people what's wrong and they'll hand you a blueprint for your product. It requires you to bring a specialised skill set to interviews with customers and identify where the problems are for them. Understand their journey so you can deliver a better one.

People Not Products

It was Ryan getting involved first-hand with people that let him create services they would actually use. Services that would let them achieve their goals. Goals that were only discovered by doing the research and asking people where the friction is in their lives.
People don’t care about loans - Ryan Garner
At the moment JTBD is taking a backseat to traditional methods of product development. As a consequence, services aren’t shaped around people. Instead, banks and financial providers are trying to shape people around products. JTBD is a customer focused approach to product development that requires you to shape the tech rather than be shaped by it, making it a unique challenge in fintech. Here the issue is making sure the financial and technological side of the industry come together in a way that provides real meaning to people’s lives. It’s only possible to do this by talking to people. Examining a cross-section of people that represent the population and finding out what they need to make their lives easier. Watch out for more blog posts on Jobs to be Done coming soon and written by our in-house expert, Ryan Garner. Ryan organises a Meetup where you can talk to him and others all about jobs to be done in practice or you can email him at or find him on Twitter @ryangarner