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Who Cares What Patients Read in Waiting Rooms?

Chris Spiek // 03.22.13

This video is a great opportunity to see Clay speak about Jobs-to-be-Done, and the magazine/smartphone example that was given by David Skok was an effective and easy-to-understand story.  But after hearing the example, I couldn’t help but think, “who cares what patients do in waiting rooms?”

A person in a waiting room at a doctor’s office can have any number of “jobs to do,” but the jobs are only important to me if I’m developing a product in the space that is connected to the it.

In other words, I don’t necessarily care that more people are using their smartphones in doctor’s offices and reading less magazines, unless I’m a magazine publisher (for example).

And even if I’m the publisher of the magazine, the information might not be terribly valuable to me. See, the person hiring or not hiring the magazine in the doctor’s waiting room isn’t the same person that is buying or subscribing to the magazine.

To bring this story full-circle, there are a few things that I’d want to know before I started to value the information:

  • Who in a doctor’s office is responsible for making sure there are magazines available for the patients to read while waiting, and what are the “job dimensions” that must be met for their job?  (e.g. topical variety may be important, but newness might not be).
  • Has the publishing company that I’m working for been affected by this magazine-to-smartphone shift in a measurable way (or even intuitively)?  If not, I may be digging in the wrong place and the doctor’s office isn’t the right place to look for possible magazine innovations.

Big thanks to the Nieman Foundation and Harvard University for making this video available, and thanks to Clay and David for giving us a good example to discuss and explore!