How successful products reflect our biology – The Human Greed Pyramid cheat sheet

This is a 3-minute quick read. It is a shortened derivative of this article: The Human Greed Pyramid, an Illustration of How Innovations Interrelates With Humans’ Consumption Patterns and Natural Inclinations, and How to Plot Innovation That Works on Humans  

Attend the next ‘Human Greed Pyramid workshop – How To See Into The Future: Innovation, Success, Influence & 4IR

  • Human beings (PEOPLE) are part of NATURE (first layer in the pyramid).
  • NATURAL INCLINATIONS is where consumption patterns shape. It is the evolutional biology and psychology of the choices we make.
  • Some of the INCLINATIONS: Lust, love, anger, joy happiness, need for community, etc.
  • How does nature relate with human/natural inclinations? Hunger is satisfied by eating food that nature
  • People’s natural inclinations push them to form cultures, e.g. tribes. Even animals organise themselves into what we choose to call packs, herds, or troops.
  • People use their cognition to innovate, i.e. create manmade Both hard (a chair) and soft innovations (software, marriage, jokes).
  • Innovation is that which works, is effective and thus successful. If it does not work, it is not innovative.
  • Successful innovations mirror people’s inclinations hence they are consumed massively. They feed inclinations. Or else they fail.
  • e. there is a psychobiological link between humanly inclinations and innovation.
  • People created and craze and crave Facebook, Mc Donald’s, YouTube, iPhone – to the next phone better than an iPhone, religion, marriage, a beautiful/sexy partner – and another bae on the side, porn, etc.
  • This is because these things satisfy people’s inclinations.
  • Inclinations manifest themselves in these innovations. E.g., human beings have evolved to have a sweet tooth – i.e. to love sugary foods. The juicier the fruit, the calorie filled it is, and that is how our ancestors adapted to consuming sugar – that piece of juicy steak, passing this to us genetically and epigenetically. Then commerce made processed sugar to capitalize further. Hence we love Coke and ice cream.
  • The innovations become part of cultures depending on the extent of their success and spread – new innovations can topple or divide old innovations.
  • Humans are greedy beings. We want more and more innovations. We push to beat current innovations. It is a biological inclination.
  • But also, there are those who want nostalgia.


  • PEOPLE crave (NATURAL INCLINATIONS) ENTERTAINMENT. We’ve evolved to crave it.
  •  They then create ENTERTAINMENT MEMORABILIA through their COGNITION.
  • Our cognition can create objects that feed our inclinations.
  • People created VIDEO (with COGNITION) to store moments (MEMORABILIA)
  •  They created (with COGNITION) the INTERNET.
  • Innovation is achieved through achieving agility: Creating faster and faster and smarter cars.
  • It follows a route of mixing more than one property, or a thing – anything.
  • Combining VIDEO and INTERNET is INNOVATION as it creates AGILITY. Video and internet form an agile virtual tool. This is STACKING FOR AGILITY.
  • VIDEO and INTERNET are huge demographics with millions of users individually. YouTube combines these demographics hence it is successful.

Innovation is competitive. Everyone, inadvertently – or not, is using a Greed Pyramid to have a following that hopefully produces results favourable to them, i.e. religious institutions, entrepreneurs, soccer teams, politicians, mining companies, etc. The result could be money, political power, creative superiority, technology, etc.

How can you use the Human Greed Pyramid?

  • You can use it to brainstorm or test a cause, product, idea or campaign – be it entrepreneurial or otherwise.
  • Check how an idea or product touches or mirrors, and devise how further to twist it to mirror/suit the inclinations.
  • Test the innovation of an idea and if it will affect culture – i.e. dominate and/or become part of culture. Are you stacking for agility? Does one of the properties or combinations stacked for agility have massive users already? Successful innovations become a culture as has video and later YouTube. With the help of this pyramid, you can think it through.
  • Is it an old innovation or a new one? I.e. is it effective? Is it stacking for agility?
  • Of course, all this is cognition at play. What you think (innovate), i.e. your cognitive Adjacent Possible, is because stacking up of your knowledge, experience and network.
  • Where are you getting the material (nature) for your product? Is it made already?
  • Happy thinking.

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Attend the next ‘Human Greed Pyramid workshop – How To See Into The Future: Innovation, Success, Influence & 4IR

Tiisetso Maloma in this regard is acting as principal at PsychHero, a consulting agency in Business Enterprise Development, Innovation Analysis, and Consumer Behaviour Influence from an evolutionary, Neuro-Linguistic, individual and social lens.