How ideas from psychology & sociology can be used to develop and market products.
You can always transplant ideas and concepts. Ideas are patterns that give you a glimpse of how life operates. If they work in one situation, they would most likely work in another. This is the core essence of innovation. Look for the patterns that make things work. Then apply the same patterns in places where you would least expect to find it. Here is a pattern that works in sociology and can just as easily be adapted to developing and marketing products.
Maslow’s Hierarchy — in a new context
Most of you would be familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. This is a classic theory that can be easily adapted into product design and development.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is often portrayed in the shape of a pyramid with the largest, most fundamental needs at the bottom and the need for self-actualization and transcendence at the top. In other words, the crux of the theory is that individuals’ most basic needs must be met before they become motivated to achieve higher level needs.
When you are developing software products (or any product, for that matter) you always start with listing our requirements. This is what matters the most to users and inherently we understand this.
Since this is the very basic action, within the framework of Maslow’s Hierarchy:
Physiological needs = Product functionality.
If you are operating in a market where there is no other alternative to your product in terms of functionality, users will be ready to use the product even if it does not offer any other compelling reason.
Say you want to dig a hole and these are the three products available in your market.
Even if the shovel available is a small basic one you would still go for it.
Now imagine if the shovel market were to change to something like this:
This is where it gets more complicated and Maslow’s other levels come into play.
After functionality in the product hierarchy, people look at trust and stability. So a strong shovel with good quality is the next thing they would look for.
Safety = Trust and Stability