How Ford Learned That Uncovering a Job to be Done is Only Part of the Battle

Over the past few years, Jobs to be Done (“JTBD”) has emerged as one of the leading tools for innovators. As companies struggle to figure out which products will become breakthrough innovations and which will fall flat, companies large and small have time and again found that Jobs to be Done can provide the answer. Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings has talked openly about using JTBD to disrupt the video rental industry. General Mills regularly employs the theory to develop new product lines so it can hit its growth targets. Johnson and Johnson has even started listing familiarity with JTBD as a qualification for those applying for front-end innovation jobs. But despite the acclaim the theory has garnered and the obvious successes that have been born from it, organizations that stop with merely uncovering customers’ jobs are still launching products that struggle in the market. Ford is the latest casualty.

In March, Ford launched Credit Link — a pilot program that would let three to six customers share the lease on a new car. Through the program, customers would all have access to the new car, using an app to divvy up driving times and payments however they wished. Three months into the pilot, not a single customer has signed up. Some quick analysis has shown good traffic to the program’s website, but the number of conversions remains at zero.

In a recent article for, Dave Farber details how needs gaps uncovered by the Jobs to be Done framework are only a part of the solution. While this view provides an important perspective on consumer needs, it is just a part of a broader JTBD landscape — including customers’ current approaches and other obstacles to adoption .

To read more about spotting trends, bolstering innovativeness, and focusing on customer-centricity, check out the full piece on or the latest insights on our New Markets blog.



We are: Innovation strategy experts • Seasoned market researchers who put Jobs to be Done theory into practice • Award-winning authors of action-oriented books. This is what we’re thinking about.

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