Case Story: Empathy & Jobs to be Done Training to Drive Customer Centricity For a F500 Retail Brand | The Garage Group

Case Story: Empathy & Jobs to be Done Training to Drive Customer Centricity For a F500 Retail Brand

A brand within a Fortune 500 retail company came to The Garage Group with a desire for more consumer-centric approach to innovation. Their small team wanted to make a big impact across the business and across their culture. They needed to overcome real challenges around ensuring consumer empathy was leading to big ideas, despite limited resources needed for development and deployment of skills and tools.

A few of their team members had been trained specifically in Design Thinking from Stanford’s D-School, and others in the group had been reading foundational books on similar entrepreneurial methods. But, the team was looking for a way to more clearly connect the dots between theory and application.


The brand’s innovation leader, along with The Garage Group, developed a customized training to set the tone for their new innovation processes and inspire change. A week before Black Friday, 22 members of this retail team – managers from Merchandising, Trends, Finance, Brand Strategy, HR, Marketing, and more — converged and engaged in the interactive training. Coaching included high-level overviews of the Lean Growth Playbook and Design Thinking, and an in-depth training in Empathy, Jobs to be Done, and Business Model Canvassing.  

Throughout the training, The Garage Group guided the team as they built empathy for one another and their target market, successfully translated real customer “pain points” into Jobs to be Done, and developed real innovation pipeline ideas leveraging a custom Business Model Canvas.

Through the in-depth Jobs to be Done training, things started to click. TGG shared external examples of translating “pain points” into Jobs before turning it over to the smaller sub-teams to work through translating their own customer “pain points” into Jobs. After coming together as a group to discuss, the sub-teams again put theory into practice by translating those “pain points” into business-relevant Jobs to be Done. Leveraging a custom-designed Business Model Canvas, the teams rapidly developed and assessed ideas.


Participants from the training immediately began using this new, consumer-centric language, along with the tools they learned around building empathy, uncovering pain points, prioritizing Jobs to be Done, and then building robust business models to pressure-test ideas. All around the offices, Business Models Canvases were hung and used to help teams assess the strength or weaknesses of ideas. Bad ideas were killed faster, and good ideas were elevated quickly.

The brand now prides itself on its ability to begin with empathy, to generate stronger ideas. In addition, they’ve leveraged this consumer-centric approach to enable more focused planning efforts. “What job does it do?” has become common vernacular, keeping the consumer at the center any conversation.

Finally, as this brand began to feel the impact of this training, the company has taken notice. Executives from across the company took part in an immersive training and are now beginning to cascade these new approaches to consumer centricity throughout the brands.

“The Garage Group was very effective in tailoring their materials to our needs. Our goal was to develop skills in 1 day that would allow the team to be in action without requiring continued consulting support. That was accomplished and much more. We’ve seen a paradigm shift leading to a new language centered on the customer.”


To learn more about customer centricity or schedule a training for your team, reach out to

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