What is the Job to be Done (JTBD) for the research industry? Is it the JTBD framework?

In the Grit Report (a report looking at the market research industry) one thing that always catches my eye – it is this table on what makes good research and it rarely changes in the way that skills needs do.


To me, conducting the research is all about the basics- bias, sampling, validation etc.  It should be standard in a good research agency or project.

The next two are more important and are often the biggest failures in market research – remember these are typically insight managers or directors who understand what they are getting – understanding the issue to be research and making the research actionable.

The Jobs to be Done framework does not prevent bad research – practitioners will eventually be a varied in quality as in other aspects of research, but it does give a new way of understanding the issue to be research – because needs statements are contextualised and this makes recommending business actions based on the research easier.

Outcome Driven Innovation, the original JTBD framework, goes perhaps the furthest of any research process I have seen, as Tony Ulwick has produced a pretty robust opportunity algorithm (although getting the data for such analysis is hard) but in most cases JTBD highlights what the customer wants, when they want it and why they want it – the how and what are to some extent left up to the experts within the business to define (although some broad specifications may come out of the research).  At best a consumer can provide incremental improvements whereas designers can focus on much more disruptive or imaginative improvements.

Looking at the future there is a bigger issue facing businesses in the future – namely making assumptions or decisions made on partial or non-existential evidence.

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