Navigate / search

JTBD for Health by Justin Sinclair meetup wrap-up

Last Monday saw a great crowd of almost 30 people turn up at Brain Mates to hear Justin Sinclair of Neo speak about a health case study at the JTBD Sydney Meetup.

Justin shared how Jobs-to-be-Done research was applied to investigate customer needs and behaviour when choosing a health provider. His client had hit a cross roads in the development of an online solution for provider selection and decided that some customer centred research was needed.

Some background to JTBD (and the case-study)

For those unfamiliar with JTBD, it is a research technique that focuses on the moment where a customer has made an explicit choice to switch between one product or service to another. The underlying rationale being that all priorities have been crystallised in this moment of decision making which can then in turn inform product development.

For the health study, Justin and his team from Neo recruited customers with a range of health needs who had chosen new providers.

The next fundamental concept of Jobs-to-be-done is the job itself which in JTBD terms is framed as a problem that a product or service is “hired” to solve.

The problems discovered in the health study went far broader than diagnosis and treatment. The problems involved the whole experience; some examples:

  • Convenience of location and appointment times.
  • Cost, and lack of information around insurance.
  • History of information with an existing provider as a reason to stay and barrier to change.
  • Comfort, trust, and alignment of values between patients and health practitioners.
  • Questions of expertise and credentials of health practitioners.

The research successfully illuminated the customer journey. It also posed a challenge because the importance of all decision making factors  and touchpoints varied significantly depending on whether the patient had chronic needs, a new serious illness, a minor illness or was simply organising a check-up.

Applying Jobs-to-be-Done to customer research

Jobs-to-be-Done was incorporated into the research discussion guide and all researchers received training in how to do a “switch interview”. Group analysis was done using the “Four Forces” model: looking at the forces driving a customer to a new solution and the forces that are holding them back.

In this case study two of the four forces in the framework – habit and anxiety – proved fundamental to understanding customer choices and the difficulty faced by the client’s solution in trying to solve far ranging problems with their online product.

So consider for a moment that this approach seeks to find and define customer “jobs” in order to make products that do those jobs. What was most fascinating to me was hearing about the challenge the researches faced in framing the job at the right level. Defining the “job” too broadly, at too high a level, gets us insights that aren’t actionable. Defining a job too narrowly or specifically categorises customers by type and fails to capture the needs of the behaviour around the task or job of choosing a provider.

Interestingly for the client the research brought into question the fundamental value that this product was bringing to the market. The product is now on hold maybe because of this insight: “Discovering a job isn’t enough if you can’t viably solve it.”

Questions from the audience

I think what I am beginning to like most about Jobs-to-be-Done is the diversity it attracts. We had user experience designers, product managers, and developers in the audience. Their questions reflected how diverse these disciplines can be in their approaches. We had side conversations about personas, and the value of qualitative research versus quantitative research.

It’s difficult to baseline the understanding of such a wide audience with a new toolset. Jobs-to-be-Done is quite jargonistic to someone new to it. This made it all the more valuable to hear about it applied in practice and also shows how much awareness and education around this and related  techniques is needed. Which is the whole reason for the meetup so come along to the next one Monday July 13.

The Jobs to be Done Sydney meet up was founded by Christian Lafrance and is organised by Christian and yours truly.Sign up at http://www.meetup.com/sydney_jtbd/  

Follow Justin Sinclair on Twitter at or check out where he works at Neo. Thanks to Justin and Neo for sharing your work at our meetup. 

New to Jobs-to-be-Done. Check out http://jobstobedone.org/

Thanks as ever to our hosts and event sponsors Brain Mates

Leave a Reply