You’ve heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. It’s the go-to breakdown of human needs, broken down into five neat categories. The further down the pyramid you go, the more important and basic the need. In this exercise, we’re including an additional need that Maslow allegedly added near the end of his life: transcendence. This is the idea that, as humans, we seek to help others find self-actualization and feel the need to look beyond ourselves for purpose.
We can use Maslow’s Hierarchy to analyze how various products or features can affect users. Oftentimes, features are neither strictly good or bad. Most of the time, product teams would advocate how the features they are building are good and ethically sound. But as we have seen, there often is a flip side to every feature.
In this exercise, team members brainstorm the positive aspects of their product/feature as they relate to each tier of Maslow’s Hierarchy on the right side of the model. This is the easy part. Then, they write the negative aspects of their product/feature as they relate to each tier of Maslow’s Hierarchy on the left side of the model.