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Excellent write-up!

I too find JTBD (specifically the book Competing against luck) to best explain what a user need really is and how to think about them. A lot of people, both in business/marketing areas and the UX-world has tried to explain the idea but I have always found user needs somewhat fuzzy. For me, the framework is an essential starting point.

If I can add something to the discussion, I would also like to highlight the book “Consumer behavior” by Blackwell, Miniard, and Engel that discuss a buying process framework that starts with “need recognition” i.e the job. They make a clear difference between rational/functional needs/jobs and emotional needs/jobs. JTBD tends to focus more on functional jobs but if you do that you will only meet some parts of the need.

After I’ve learned about JTBD I reread “Designing for the Digital Age” by Kim Goodwin. She talks about goal-oriented human-centered design. If one looks closely at what she means with goals she’s basically talking about jobs to be done and presents a great solution to how to combine personas, goals and the type of needs that Tony Ulwick calls “desired outcomes”. Goodwill simply calls them user requirements.