Alan Klement

Alan Klement published his e-book “When coffee and kale compete” in 2016. Klement’s approach to jobs to be done focuses purely on the emotional motives of the customers and their desire to see a noticeable improvement in their lives.

According to Klement’s definition, the job to be done has no functional or social components, nor is it suitable for improving existing products. His definition of theory differs significantly from the principles of Christensen and Ulwick in this respect.

Anthony Ulwick

Anthony Ulwick is a jobs-to-be-done pioneer from the very beginning, and a definitive author of the first book on the subject, “What customers want” (2007).

He also collaborated with Clayton Christensen in defining the five principles mentioned in our article, and he has extended this set by the following four points:

  1. A precise understanding of the customer’s jobs makes marketing more effective and innovation more predictable.
  2. Customers want products and services that help them do a job better and/or cheaper.
  3. Customers are looking for solutions that do the job on one single platform.
  4. Innovation becomes predictable when the needs that customers use to check whether the job is done to their satisfaction (“desired outcomes”) are used as measurement criteria. For example, “Reduce the time it takes to get songs in the right order before they are played”.

Based on these principles, Ulwick has developed his own methodology, outcome-driven innovation, which leads to success in 86 percent of all cases, according to the customers of his company Strategyn.

In 2016 he published the book “Jobs to be Done: Theory to Practice”, available for downloaded here free of charge as a PDF.

jtbd-glossar-graphic-01-odi-job-steps The different job steps in ODI – Outcome-Driven Innovation (Source:

Clayton Christensen

Clayton Christensen is largely responsible for making the term jobs to be done popular. His book “Competing Against Luck”, published in 2016, is the best-known work on the subject, and he also created the metaphor “Customers hire products and services to get a job done”.

The Forces of Progress

The Forces of Progress is a model that describes the forces behind the purchase process.

Favourable forces:

Antagonistic forces:

In order for a customer to decide on a new solution, the favouring forces must be stronger than his or her fears and habits.

jtbd-glossar-graphic-02-progress-making-forces (Source:

Peter Drucker

Peter F. Drucker was an American economist of Austrian origin. He has published numerous influential works on management theory and practice since the 1940s and is considered a pioneer of modern management theory and an original and independent thinker.

He laid the intellectual foundation for jobs to be done in his book, published in 1985:

“Process need, unlike the other sources of innovation, does not start out with an event in the environment, whether internal or external. It starts out with the job to be done. … It is task-focused rather than situation-focused. It perfects a process that already exists, replaces a link that is weak, redesigns an existing old process around newly available knowledge.”

ODI – Outcome-Driven Innovation

See Anthony Ulwick

Switch Interviews

Switch interviews are an interview method developed by Bob Moesta and Chris Spiek (The Rewired Group) to identify customer needs. Switch interviews are usually conducted shortly after a customer switches to a new product (i.e. hires it) or when they switch away from the product (i.e. fires the old product). In the context of the interview, a timeline of the purchase decision process is constructed, which can be used to document the needs, motivation, fears, habits and the attraction of the new solution, also making it possible to identify competitors for the solution of the job.

jtbd-glossar-graphic-03-timeline (Source:

Theodore Levitt

Theodore Levitt was a German-American economist and professor at Harvard Business School. He coined the economic term of globalization in 1983 in his issue of the Harvard Business Review. His often-used quote, “People don't want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole”, made him one of the forefathers of jobs to be done.

Value Proposition Canvas

The Value Proposition Canvas, developed by Alexander Osterwalder, combines two sections from Osterwalder’s well-known Business Model Canvas (Value Propositions and Customer Segments) and offers a closer look at their interdependencies. The customer’s jobs are compared with available products and services. Similar to the Forces of Progress, there is a comparison of the favourable (Gains) and counteracting (Pains) factors, as well as the possibilities to address them in terms of a positive purchase decision (Gain Creators, Pain Relievers). This makes it possible to pinpoint where the product range and the needs of the different customer segments are a good match.