Alan,
Jonathan Kalinowski
1

(Apologies for the long reply. It started short but then grew. I think this is a blog post…)

I like Richard Feynman’s use of “science”

Given the Feynman view of science, I agree with you — business is not science. Nor is anything associated with running a business (e.g. design interventions as you mentioned).

However, that doesn’t mean that we cannot engage in science (or better said, scientific inquiry) to yield knowledge that will aid our business decisions.

For example, JTBD is science (not the Ulwick version — he’s suggesting a strategy/ideology). We’re investigating a natural phenomenon:

  • What causes people to adopt an innovation.

This is in the same spirit as other, accepted scientific inquiry:

  • what causes light to bend around a planet
  • what causes a female chimp to choose a mate?

We could even apply null hypothesis testing to discern the efficacy of an innovation in the market:

  • Consumers will not buy this concept when it’s in the market
  • Adding this feature will not create growth for the product

The fact that JTBD is science, is also why people sometimes complain about it not being actionable. Well, knowledge isn’t supposed to be actionable. To be actionable, you need knowledge in the context of a policy/strategy.

JTBD does not offer any policy/strategy, because to do so, would be to imperil its position as science.