It is very common to talk about needs. But what is the meaning behind this big and somehow fuzzy concept? After years of research and practicing, we have a simple but strong belief: Needs are the natural instance, which drives a person to fulfill its human potential.

Needs are a product of evolution, they steer human motivation and behavior. Therefore, understanding human needs is the key for change. At DE3P we use the 77 Human Needs System to classify needs into five categories.


Physiological Needs

We have to satisfy biological functions for our survival as a human. The 77 Human Needs system distinguishes 9 physiological needs, for example eating, drinking, sexuality and sleeping. The physiological needs become very dominant in case of a deficit – try to stop breathing.

Sensorial Needs

Each of our senses want to be satisfied. We are attracted to beautiful sensations and we flee if stimuli are disgusting. A lot of business areas are focusing on our sensorial needs, e.g. restaurants on tasting and roller coasters on our balancing sense. Though most systematics count five or six senses, the 77 Human Needs System includes 9.

Actional Needs

As humans we are changing our environment to survive and develop. Meaningful or intuitive behavior gives us an invincible evolutionary advantage. The 77 Human Needs System describes 21 actional needs, for instance curiosity, control, relaxation and playing. Creating excellent usability is a big contribution for the fulfillment of actional needs.

Social Needs

Humans have better chances to survive if they are organized in groups. That’s why every one of us wants to be part of a community. Because our social live is very complex, the 77 Human Needs System includes 18 social needs. Some of them are bidirectional like giving shelter and being sheltered, others are as fundamental as communication, friendship and love.

Ideal Needs

As conscious beings, we can reflect what we do, who we want to be and which values we follow. Ideal needs represent the social values which we consciously or unconsciously have chosen as our own. They give us orientation for daily decisions and the big plans for our life. Freedom, responsibility, performance, hedonism and self-congruence are examples from the list of 20 ideal needs of the 77 Human Needs System. 


Want to know more?

Beside presentations at various conferences we regularly offer in-depth workshops where you can learn more about the 77 Human Needs System and how to use it in an innovation process. A book publication is planned for 2020. For more information please contact: bhn@de3p.com