iMASLOW – how the Social Internet forces us to turn the hierarchy of human needs on its head

In my book in 2009 I shared a concept of how Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs can be applied and turned on its head when we look at modern life, communication and being part of a community (book published by Headline Know Me, Like Me, Follow Me).

Over the past 15 years since I began the journey of evangelizing ‘engagement online’ my focus has been on the behaviour and character – or perhaps philosophy of the ‘connected world’. The shift from being transactional and ROI (return on investment) focused to being a sharing, caring member of a business community. The term ‘social’ is now widely used in business but adapting a business and an individual mindset to being ‘Social in Business’, is a lot harder to implement in reality. The ‘reality ‘ is that business people want to grow sales, protect IP and the concept of giving knowledge away and connecting with strangers is very far fetched in the minds of P&L and Balance Sheet focused Boards of Directors.

The ‘connected’ world is now a social world though, the culture shift is being forced and knowing how to adapt a workforce to this connected world, enabling them to be open, random and supportive to a wide market, that might not even be a potential client takes guts, belief and a leap of faith into an unknown culture.

To this end, my determination has seen the development of some frameworks that help people to understand it, and the iMASLOW framework that I wrote about in 2009 is now becoming a truly relevant thought and structure and so I am now building a team of people with the team at Scredible to share this concept, or you could call is IP, in order to move people from ‘closed, selective and controlling’ into this new world of being ‘open to new things and new people, random in the connections and information you are willing to embrace and supportive to the people you connect with rather than seeking a controlled outcome.

You can discover your own behaviour traits in this context on and perhaps discover which of the three concepts are your challenge. To be Open, not Closed, to be Random, not Selective and to be Supportive not Controlling.

 So onto iMASLOW

Maslow stated 5 levels of needs, he called them the Hierarchy of needs and as this diagram shows –

Maslow Hierarchy of Human Needs

When each level of need is addressed we can then focus on the next. He calls human’s ‘wanting animals’ and this is what drives us to never stay still, constantly innovating and constantly seeking the next level.

What is apparent is that we can all drop to the first level as soon as the top is reached as our ‘wants’ start all over again. Also the impact of job loss, recessions can make many of us drop to focusing on our own ‘physiological needs’ for water and food and warmth.


When I observe the way people behave online they tend to start at this first point ‘seeking food in the form of ‘prospects’ “ who can I sell to?”  is the primary task for many when they first go online. Over time as they feel safe and gain a sense of belonging they begin to question ‘who they are’ and what their role is and at this point the need for belonging and self esteem clicks in. The final growth point for anyone entering the ‘online communities’ is when they start to ‘give back’, they publish in order to help, they share and connect with others and their mindset shifts to ‘self actualisation’.

This is an extract from Know me, Like Me, Follow Me, that I published in 2009

Turning Maslow on his head

iMASLOW on headMy observation of this period that we live in is that Maslow now needs to turn his theory on his head for the Western world and state that ‘self-actualisation’, in the past a luxury for those who have already achieved their basic needs, is actually now one of the first needs we must embrace.  Maslow chooses the following words for ‘self-actualisation’. Morality, Creativity, Spontaneity, Problem Solving, Lack of Prejudice, Acceptance of facts. Today I can state that those that place these values at the centre of their lives are more likely to feed themselves, have shelter, have a sense of belonging and be part of a well nourished and functional family than those that only dream of being like this.

The point here is that we all ultimately want to help others and when we learn that it is through ‘feeding others we feed ourselves’, an age old concept that seems to be hard for people to understand when they hit the cold keyboard of the computer rather than when they are inside their communities at home.

The final part of my book is this, and this is what keeps driving me on… in the last 5 years since I wrote these words below there has certainly shown a great shift toward this mindset, perhaps 2014 will be an even bigger shift in the world, and we can all help to make that happen.


Chapter  Ten “Know Me, Like Me Follow Me”

Finally, my dream is that we stop seeing these networks as e-commerce, sales engines, or as media, marketing machines, instead we see these networks as humanity networks, full of people that are part of the change we all want.

Together we are making this change with your input the world can become a more connected world working as one world to increase global wealth and reduce friction and anger.

When we are part of this movement we can feel it in our finger tips. As we immerse ourselves though our keyboards into the networks we can sense the emotion. This is not technology; it is the people inside these networks that are truly incredible, the people who share unconditionally and in doing so become the most respected and attractive people in their industries.

I am driven by this change. Social media gives you your voice, it provides the environment and the philosophy for you to create change in your life and while doing this helps others to achieve their dreams.

Social media and social networks help you to make friends, helps you to build your financial future and help others to leverage from your success. What is more amazing than that is that these social networks are actually humanity networks; they connect people emotionally without the need for greed and without the need for competition.

Enjoy this new world and watch your personal, emotional and spiritual wealth build in ways you previously thought impossible, it is not just financial wealth that you will achieve, it is far greater than that.


Happy 2014 all. May I wish you a fabulously connected and warm Christmas and new Year








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