Take a spin through our Research Playgrounds


Innovation is rewarding, but expensive. Only ideas that users really want will succeed. The others will end up in the waste bin. That’s why our research focuses on how to understand what drives users. Today and in the future.

Job to be done

The core of our philosophy for more than 20 years. Thinking in Jobs instead of terms like needs, wishes or wants can change the perspective. From inside-out to outside-in. Because it’s the way users assess products or services.

The user insight

The magic ingredient linking product and user. Invented by leading advertising agencies, used by the best FMCG companies, ignored by academia. When the user’s heart beat goes up with a «Finally someone understands me», you found it. How? One of our research playgrounds.

Business modeling

The success of a business model depends on two things: how well is it addressing unmet user needs and how profitable can it be implemented. Two tough challenges, but far from impossible to be achieved. With the right tools and frameworks.

Value Proposition

A product is an everyday promise of a value. Not just a piece of hardware or software or service. If its value is perceived, the user will love it. And continue using it. But what is value? In our research, we try to find answers.

Our Research Playgrounds
The CFI Institute sees itself right in between two exciting worlds. We are close to academia, but not too rigorous. On the other hand we have a clear focus on practical matters, but we also provide a space for crazy endeavors and collaborations. We are both and neither at the same time. Hence, we see the topics we are interested in as Research Playgrounds.
Wanna join the fun? Be our guest, there is no fence!
Playground 1
Playground 2
Playground 3
Playground 4
Playground 5

Playground 1: Innovation

More than 80% of all innovation projects fail. Why? Because new products and services often do not meet user-needs. Rather than putting themselves in the shoes of the user companies rely on their inside-out perspective and hence missing the chance to hit the relevant pain points. As a result, they create products, which are driven by technology instead of fulfilling unmet user-needs. A missed growth opportunity.

The CFI Institute is interested in methods and tools to launch successful innovations. We believe and have shown in many projects that this can be done and accelerated by addressing unmet user needs with innovative, user-focused solutions. At heart we apply the Job to be done thinking to innovation. Currently we are expanding our know-how by integrating Design Thinking into our innovation process. Just like every organization out there, we too believe, that greatness comes from constantly working with the best people and methods available. Change is the only constant here at CFI.

Playground 2: Job to be done

Rather then asking users for solutions, such as new product features, CFI identifies what Jobs users want to accomplish. For these Jobs users buy and use products or services. Then, CFI identifies the metrics that they apply while trying to accomplish these jobs. We call these metrics the Value Metrics. They are called Value Metrics because users judge the value of a product by these criteria: how well it allows him or her to accomplish a certain job.
This job-based approach is a proven idea for innovation. Harvard Professor T. Levitt said: «Customers don’t want a drill, but a hole in the wall» or ultimately, «to hang up a picture». Professor Clayton Christensen developed this idea further and coined the phrase: «Users take life as it comes and when they encounter a problem, they look for a solution – and at that point, they’ll hire a product or service for a job. They don't go around looking for products to buy.» This change of perspective away from product features allows for innovations that a pure technical approach might not be able to see. In addition this allows to get a view of the whole competitive arena from a users perspective.

Projects completed and still counting

Playground 3: The User Insight

We do not think that «something new», «something we didn’t know before» or plain facts should be called an insight. This simply is not enough for the concept to maintain some grip. Otherwise – as for some is the case – just about anything is a user insight. We believe that a true user insight is an unmet need across a certain market or target group. Notice two things: the focus on unmet needs and a hint at quantitative validation.
Unmet needs can only be found through thorough investigation of ones users. Here also the Job to be done thinking comes in.
Quantitative validation – of course – is a theme on its one. Whatever method you prefer, let’s just agree that you have to do a quantitative validation. Never ignore a gut feeling and your experience, but never think that’s enough.

Playground 4: Business modeling

We use the word «modeling» on purpose. The time of standardized business models is clearly over. Why? Because business modeling itself became a field for disruptive innovation. Sometimes the product is not the problem, but the way an organization is built around it. Therefore organizations should perceive their business model as an additional field of doing innovation.
Traditional business models are often too conceptual
 and somewhat unrelated to the user reality. But this carries an inherit risk for failure. We think of business modeling like this: If you want to succeed, focus on the people first – your users. You should talk to them in a language they understand and speak themselves. So maybe it’s worthwhile to learn the CFI?
A business model can be far more than spreadsheets, it can function as a roadmap to bring a whole organization into line with the users.

Playground 5: Value Proposition

A value proposition should instantly make users perceive the added value. We aim to build value propositions around a deeper understanding of the problems that your users try to solve while doing a job. That’s what makes CFI unique. For us a value proposition is not simply marketing, but defines a strategic direction of a company.

Main Partners




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Creative Game

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The Watchdog

I am – so to speak – the playgrounds watchdog. My name is Yann Wermuth. I have been involved in developing and applying the CFI-methodology for a bit more than 5 years now. As you will quickly find out I am not that harsh. So please contact me about everything and anything that might interest you about us, or what you think might interest us about you!
Write me!

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