Every business on the planet exists for the reason that it either meets a need or fulfills a desire.
The more needs that are met, the more value you create forclient. The more desires that are fulfilled the more your client transforms into a raving fan. Pretty simple stuff, meet your clients needs and desires and you're onto a winning business. The reality is while many of us do meet needs and desires- there's always more we can be doing in meeting needs and fulfilling desires, so we'll also look at unpacking needs and desires in more detail (yes we'll be using the force like Luke Skywalker).

Remember that for every use of the force on a positive note there's a flip side. For every need there's acapability challenge that determines why someone can't meet the needs. And for every desire there is an aversion that determines why someone doesn't want to do it. So let's start unpacking the light side of business with defining what the needs and desires are all about.

You may be familiar with the work of developmental psychologist Abraham Maslow, who after studying and working with a host of tortured souls just like you and me, came to the conclusion that every individual, be you a CEO, a stay at home parent or homeless person has a number of needs.
Maslow's hierarchy of needs breaks down these needs in terms of the amount that needs need to be fulfilled.

The needs that we all have are:
1. physiological
2. safety
3. love & belonging
4. esteem
5. self actualisation

Marvelous you might think as you roll your eyes and wonder "what's this got to do with a customer or an organisation?". The startling reality is that surprise surprise all our customers and clients have needs, meet them and our business starts to sing.

It might make more sense if I apply Maslow's hierarchy of needs to an organisations needs.

1. Every organisation has physiological needs - we'll say that these needs would include the need to have customers and patronage, the need for cash-flow, sales, profitand the need for a product or service to deliver.

2. Organisations seek safety - for an organisation safety and security come in the form of future customers, repeat customers, growth and assets.

3. Organisations needs brands that help to create a culture. Culture can only happen with the tribe of people who want to be a part of it either from the inside or the outside. People want to belong to teams, have friendships and have a sense of family in their organisation.

4. Organisations need esteem, these esteem levels are met by the level of respect that the community, their own team and tribe and customers give them, their products and their services. This in turn fills confidence.

5. Organisations also have a need to solve problems, that is they have an existence to do something that uses skills to solve problem, allows creativity and spontaneity.

Now that was a really brief overview of needs. If you're serious about innovation and by that I mean not just interested in Innovation but committed to innovation, then consider how valuable it would be to have a list written down of your customers needs. Don't stop there, consider the value that would happen if we also wrote down and continually referred to not just our customers needs but our teams needs as well.

Nils

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