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How do human needs affect digital innovation?

Dear Tedsters,

We have heard many talks on how the digital environment changes our culture and how humans are adapting to innovations.

Now, I would like to share with you a thought with you that I had, feel free to critique or build upon my thoughts if you think different or similar about this topic:

I believe that human needs are the driving force behind innovations in digital space, I believe humans needs effect our online behaviour more then digital our culture,
I believe we are looking at our digital life out of the wrong point of view.

Everyone seems to be talking about how digital innovations effect our lives. But at the end of the day, haven't we humans, created of all these digital technologies with our own minds. I therefore ask my self shouldn't human psychology and anthropology effect the technology much more then it us...

If so, Is it possible by analysing our needs to predict future innovation?

For Example: Facebook is connecting people all over the globe. What began as a phenomenon for students has spread to all ages, making Facebook a vast cyber-culture in itself.

The Facebook.com phenomenon has gained much popularity because it allows people to stay in contact, they communicate and become closer with each other, no matter how far appart they are.

Striping it down to the core, Facebook allows us to express a fundamental human need, which is being social. Communication is the foundation of every social group and a major pilar of human identity.

In conclusion this means by working backwards, our fundamental human need of being social, has led us to invent a digital tool or platform where humans can live out their social desire. This might also explains why it has been so successful: Maybe its because every human being has the same shared human needs. Its successful because it satisfies a need, not only a interest.

I would love to hear your thought this, do you know if there is prevouis work on this point of view out there?

Kind Regards.


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  • Nov 18 2012: I agree that human needs are the driving force behind innovations in digital space. I find myself thinking of ways to solve situations with digital mediums that take a while. An example of this would be standing behind someone at the grocery store who has 30 coupons that they need scanned to receive their discounts. In this day and age there is no reason why this is still being done manually. It benefits everybody if coupons can be redeemed digitally. This of course is still being modified by companies such as Groupon and Deal Chicken. I'm confident that we will be there eventually.
    • Nov 21 2012: Hi Aaron,

      Thanks for the reply! I agree with your thought of wasting time infront of counters or in queues.
      I am very much interested in the psychological though you attacked. Where did you start your research or did you just go for it?


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