Jane Frost CBE


Jane Frost became CEO of MRS, the world’s leading research association, in 2012 after 8 years in government – first as Strategy Director at the Department for Constitutional Affairs (Justice) and latterly as the first individual Customer Director at HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).  It was for her work revolutionising HMRC’s customer intelligence and corporate strategy that she received the CBE.

Jane has more than 20 years experience delivering customer based change to a wide range of corporations.

She is Cambridge educated and Unilever trained, and before moving into the public sector was at the BBC, where apart from readying the BBCs technology businesses for sale, she was Controller of Corporate and Brand Marketing.

Jane was responsible for the BBC films Perfect Day, World Leaders and Small People which broke industry records for awareness and approval while the conversion of the promotion Perfect Day into a charity CD raised over £2.5 m for Children in Need.

Jane gained extensive international experience working for Shell in many markets including the US, Australasia, Middle and Far East. While there, Jane was responsible for pan European advertising and globally co-ordinated major brand re-launches.

Jane enjoys a busy family life with her husband and two children in South West London and has a wide range of non-executive experience from International Publishing to Digital Communications, where she has served on both audit and ethics committees.

In addition to being a trustee and NED of the Lowry, she is vice chair of the Fair Trade Foundation and a member of the advisory board of Women on Boards.  

Talk Details

Placebo works... 

Slides | Video

Why does the consumer often seem to be left out of the design process?

Designers, whether engineers, architects, digital or other technical expert sometimes seem to be dedicated to processes, outputs and "stuff". Their language is inaccessible to consumers and user manuals and therefore, more often gobbledegook than not.

The reducing cost of failure in this digital age means that new brands die rapidly: compare the lifespan of mobile handset brands to many fast moving consumer goods.

We can all list examples of unworkable workspace, unreadable typefaces, un-navigable sites and yes, mobile surveys that can’t be filled in.

Why does this happen and what can Research contribute to bridge the gap?

We know that placebos work, so how should we design around the knowledge that emotional trust can be more important than “real” function?

From Maslow’s hierarchy to new theories of time elasticity, to the impact of understanding motivations on public policy, you really do need to be more curious about your consumer…