Maslow hierarchy of needs applied to employee engagement

Maslow hierarchy of needs applied to employee engagement


Maslow hierarchy of needs can be applied to employee engagement; it is an interesting exercise since help us to understand why we should implement correction in our management style in order to retain talents and best performers inside the company.

The 5 level of Maslow can be somehow translated into the engagement level of the employee as showed in the image.

So let try to understand the 5 levels.

This five stage model can be divided into deficiency needs and growth needs. The first four levels are often referred to as deficiency needs and the top level is known as growth or being needs.

The deficiency needs are said to motivate people when they are unmet. Also, the need to fulfil such needs will become stronger the longer the duration they are denied. For example, the longer a person goes without food the more hungry they will become.

One must satisfy lower level deficit needs before progressing on to meet higher level growth needs. When a deficit need has been satisfied it will go away. Our activities become habitually directed towards meeting the next set of needs that we have yet to satisfy. These then become our salient needs. However, growth needs continue to be felt and may even become stronger once they have been engaged. Once these growths needs have been reasonably satisfied, one may be able to reach the highest level called self-actualization.

Any work environment follow more or less the same dynamics since is human related, therefore can be done a transposition of the basic human needs in terms of employee behavior. In company terms this would mean try to understand what the engagement level of the employee is accordingly to hisher satisfaction level.


5 Survival

Starting bottom up we find the first level is the “survival”, the covering of immediate needs.

In this category we find the most disengaged employee, the ones that can not fit into the company culture and management and, basically, stay there because of the money and because they have no other choices.

This kind of employee does not have any kind of “attraction” or “affection” with the company, the work there is just a mere question of surviving. Of course heshe will leave at the first possible chance unless the barrier to mobility (cultural or economic) is too high.

It is interesting to notice that this kind of attitude can be driven by 2 factors:

  • Cultural
  • Management driven

The cultural approach is present when there is no perception of value of the work, but just a mere fulfillment of economical needs. But on the other end a very bad management attitude can drive people to this level in a very shorten time, when expectation on value, respect, trust and ethics are not met by the company management.

From a company point of view this is a very dangerous zone since this kind of employee does not find any reward or satisfaction on the job, not can see any possibility to rise up hisher status, not at least in that environment.

If this can be a problem with mere low level operative roles, is absolutely negative for higher company function, or whenever a “commitment” is required as, it is an obvious consideration, in case of knowledge workers.

4 Security

This is a common situation of “not engaged” people. People that have its own work ethics but can’t find in the company the needed fulfillment; therefore take as only value the compensation.

This is usually linked by a poor management environment, as a matter of fact people in this zone does not feel that are using their skills appropriately, and does not feel that the job, the management or the team they are inserted is the right place to be.

Typically this kind of employees offer a higher service for the company than the previous one, but their cultural need to find satisfaction in their job tend to move them to look for new possibilities. This can not be necessary a condition matched by a higher level of compensation, often is strictly related to job conditions itself.

Micromanagement andor autocratic management styles are usually the cause of this not engagement. Whilst there is not sense of belonging nor affection to the company, the compensation level is enough to keep the employee as long as he she does not find a more appealing working condition.

Those first two levels are intrinsically demotivating, and can affect working performance. While in the first level expectation can not exceed the minimum required level to do the job, on the second one can be present more performing results due to the possibility to gain more “money” as a compensation of the low job esteem.


3 belonging

According to Maslow’s model below the two basic levels that fill the basic needs, we find the psychological needs.

This means, basically that once the minimum level of services has been reached people tend to satisfy needs that would be, otherwise, somehow out of reach, as love and friendship.

In business terms this can be express by a sense of belonging in the company and therefore an active engagement.

The next 3 levels describe a situation where the employee find its satisfaction inside the company and try to fulfill further needs inside the company itself.

This is the main different with the first 2 stages, in the first 2 any upgrade or fulfillment of higher desires is seen only going outside the company, bringing as consequence the low or neutral engagement, while in the next three the perception is that the satisfaction of higher needs can be found inside the company itself, this, coped with the natural desire of human being to improve, can bring high value in terms of quality and willingness to succeeds.

In other terms people is motivated.

In the first of the 3 psychological stages employees feel a sense of belonging, but needs are not completely satisfied. With the sense of “proudness” there is also the disenchanted look at the market because there can be a better position.

The good part comes from the management and the quality of the work, while the main obstacle in this case is mainly related to possible career path.

In absence of a clear career path the natural need to rise up the satisfaction level can bring the employee to look elsewhere.

While this is usually a passive openness to move, if the career path are closed the employee can feel a sense of betray and shift hisher perception to level 4. The most appealing job offer would, in this case, offer a sensitive paycheck raise and a better, more prestigious, position.

The work performance are, in any way, usually very good since the employee feel a rewarding coming from the job and the surrounding environment.

4 importance

Right above the belonging level we can find what Maslow define as esteem needs.

This is usually achieved in business when the employee feel itself as an important part of the organization, he is rewarded and achieved. The feeling of “being able to make the difference” and the perception that a growth path is possible make this kind of employee highly engaged, motivated and motivator with the colleagues.

The point is that the perception of being part of that team, that environment, that company is rewarding by itself and makes the employee proud. Usually people in this state would move only for a “lifetime offer” and not tempted by small pay rise. The difference has to be “important” both in terms of money compensation and role.

1 self actualization

This is when the employee finds its own meaning inside the company. The satisfaction level is the highest since the perceptions are that the company fulfills all needs economical and, most important, psychological.

This means the employee feel to be part of the group, is proud, fell can make the difference and even hisher creative part is stimulated.

In this stage it is very unlikely that an employee want to leave, and his her commitment to the company and the job is the greatest.

Clearly this is quite a hard status to achieve.

Why Maslow’s hierarchy of needs matter

We can ask ourselves what this has to do with job? Well knowing what can motivate demotivate someone can influence heavily his her work performances as well his her retention.

HR that are looking to hire, Managers that want to increase team performances can find in this model a “simply” way to understand what to do or what to offer.

One of the interesting parts of this approach is that accordingly to mallow theory the natural need to fulfill higher level of needs can be used inside an organization to promote the sense of belonging and the overall performance in terms of results and quality. Rewarding and fulfilling needs pay off.

But a rewarding approach is a completely different approach from the commonly used punitive approach common in many bad management practices.

It is easy to understand how bad people management practices put people in the lowest level of the hierarchy (5 and 4) and affect heavily the quality of the job done.

But reaching level 3 requires a big commitment in terms of human resources and management effort. The payoff is usually enough to justify the effort, or at least this seems to be the approach of modern high tech companies where commitment and dedication need to go hand in hand with risk taking, creativity and high skills.

The lower the need for a company to provide quality, flexibility and creativity the lower will be the need for the company to move to satisfy levels above 4.

But just to be clear, being below level 3 in a tech company expose the company itself to lower productivity and lower retention right where the most talented resources in terms of skills and motivation are needed.

About Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation” in Psychological Review. Maslow subsequently extended the idea to include his observations of humans’ innate curiosity. His theories parallel many other theories of human developmental psychology, some of which focus on describing the stages of growth in humans. Maslow used the terms “physiological”, “safety”, “belongingness” and “love”, “esteem”, “self-actualization”, and “self-transcendence” to describe the pattern that human motivations generally move through.

Maslow studied what he called exemplary people such as Albert EinsteinJane AddamsEleanor Roosevelt, and Frederick Douglass rather than mentally ill or neurotic people, writing that “the study of crippled, stunted, immature, and unhealthy specimens can yield only a cripple psychology and a cripple philosophy.” Maslow studied the healthiest 1% of the college student population.

Maslow’s theory was fully expressed in his 1954 book Motivation and Personality. The hierarchy remains a very popular framework in sociology research, management training and secondary and higher psychology instruction.


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Maslow hierarchy of needs applied to employee engagement was originally published on The Puchi Herald Magazine

Industria 4.0. Rivoluzione culturale prima che tecnologica

Industria 4.0. Rivoluzione culturale prima che tecnologica

Industria 4.0. Rivoluzione culturale prima che tecnologica

Siamo ormai abituati ad avere a che fare con espressioni linguistiche costituite da un nome e due numeri puntati il cui secondo è uno zero: tipo 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 eccetera. Messe in ordine ascendente, le cifre dovrebbero suggerire un’evoluzione, un passaggio verso una versione più avanzata (o aggiornata) di una data situazione o di un certo oggetto.
Fra le prime ad imporsi e più note non solo fra gli addetti ai lavori c’è sicuramente “web 2.0”. Si tratta di un fenomeno affascinante dal punto di vista ideale, che ha fatto cultura, che ha dato l’avvio a molte discussioni sul futuro delle nostre società ma che da un punto di vista tecnologico è sostanzialmente vuoto, privo di contenuti. Ciò che il web 2.0 portava come straordinaria novità era il cambio di approccio all’uso della rete, con il passaggio da un sistema in cui solo un numero limitato di content provider produceva e forniva contenuti, ad un’altra modalità che, invece, prevedeva e favoriva la nascita di una comunità sempre più allargata di utenti, ognuno dei quali in grado non solo di produrre ma anche di condividere – o mettere in rete – questi contenuti.
In un certo senso, l’Industria 4.0 non è differente dal sopra citato web 2.0: più che di rivoluzione tecnologica – il digitale non è certamente una novità di questi ultimissimi anni – si deve parlare di nuovo atteggiamento o rinnovato approccio alle modalità di fare industria, di produrre. Un atteggiamento con forti legami a questioni di ruolo e di procedura che coinvolge molto meno il personale tecnico e molto più figure chiave in azienda come il direttore finanziario o l’amministratore delegato. Personaggi che nell’ecosistema aziendale delineano le strategie e prendono le decisioni, scegliendo una direzione piuttosto che un’altra.

Operando in una compagnia che di Industria 4.0 fornisce il backbone, cioè l’informatica e quegli strumenti che servono a collegarsi, sono fermamente convinto di quanto, per un’azienda, sia importante avere un progetto. Ogni implementazione di software senza un’idea seria e strutturata alle spalle è assolutamente inutile, se non dannosa.
Ecco perché l’Industria 4.0 è innanzitutto la necessità o la capacità di definire all’interno dell’azienda, qualunque essa sia, qualunque sia l’impatto economico, un percorso di nuova gestione delle risorse. E qui si intende gestione e integrazione di tutte le risorse, da quelle energetiche a quelle produttive a quelle informatiche e così via.
L’Industria 4.0 è una bellissima idea grazie alla quale tutti gli oggetti e tutti i soggetti che fanno parte di un’impresa smettono di essere isolati e diventano interconnessi. E non solamente come connessione fisica o di comunicazione, ma come vera e propria questione di processo. In questo senso, l’interconnessione vuol dire che tutti gli oggetti – fra loro “uniti” – devono poter lavorare insieme per fornire un risultato.
Ovviamente per poter operare in modo congiunto e per garantire un risultato servono dispositivi e strumenti (hardware e software) in grado di ben funzionare, dai connettori per collegamenti, ai sensori per monitoraggio dati, ai sistemi di analisi big data e di qualità del dato, fino ai sistemi di sicurezza informatica. Elementi che pur importanti, non sono decisivi per arrivare a un risultato pieno. Ciò che viene prima del buon funzionamento degli strumenti è la capacità di integrare la tecnologia nei processi e questi – a loro volta – nella cultura aziendale. In altre parole, significa che l’impresa è preparata su come utilizzare al meglio (ovvero in modo funzionale e strategico all’attività dell’impresa stessa) ciò che le nuove tecnologia potranno generare.
Un esempio su tutti: la mole di dati che gli oggetti interconnessi producono rimane inutilizzata o sottoutilizzata a causa di scarse capacità di analisi.
L’Industria 4.0 è rivoluzionaria nel suo essere elemento di rottura rispetto al modello industriale consolidato. E questo discorso vale tanto per i grandi gruppi, dove ogni intervento ha ripercussioni maggiori (basti pensare agli interventi di efficientamento energetico) sia per le PMI.
In Italia, in particolare, è importante che la piccola e media impresa si doti degli strumenti culturali per capire dove intervenire per diventare o rimanere competitiva in un panorama mondiale di forte cambiamento. Ciò significa saper scegliere sia la soluzione più adatta alle proprie esigenze sia il sistema che meglio si sposa con i propri piani strategici di crescita. E le offerte non mancano: piattaforme di proprietà, servizi cloud, affiancamento di consulenti, affidamento in outsourcing. Ogni scelta ha vantaggi e svantaggi: l’importante è che anche in una piccola realtà imprenditoriale vi sia qualcuno che abbia una visione più ampia, a medio-lungo termine.
Come sarà, dunque, questo passaggio all’Industria 4.0? Probabilmente lento, a piccoli step sia per le ragioni culturali sopra citate, sia per motivazioni più squisitamente economiche, considerando i costi non indifferenti per l’adeguamento della produzione a ai nuovi standard.
Senza dubbio sarà inevitabile e prima si inizierà a pensare in modo nuovo, prima recupereremo come sistema-Paese competitività a livello globale.

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Industria 4.0. Rivoluzione culturale prima che tecnologica was originally published on The Puchi Herald Magazine

“Chinglish” – Hilarious Translations

“Chinglish” – Hilarious Translations


2016-10-05 Spoonhunt Spoonhunt Spoonhunt

source: Spoonhunt

微信号 spoonhunt

功能介绍 Discover & explore food around you with menus translated into English all over Asia!




As Spoonhunt brings you translated menu items so you don’t have to guess at every Chinese menu you come across, we’re always looking for funny translations in China. Here are some of the funniest bad translations we found this week.

Have some funny Chinglish you want to share? Send us the picture on WeChat! We will pick the best ones each week to post!

User Submitted: CHRIS in GUILIN

Shmke Your Groove Thmng.

Correct translation

舞蹈室 Dance Studio

User Submitted: TOMÁS in SHENZHEN

Nothing can change the Fried Pork, not even the finest gold in all of Thailand. Fried pork is no gold digger.

Correct translation –

泰式金不换炒猪肉、鸡肉/牛肉 Thai Style Sweet Basil Stir-Fried Pork

User Submitted: MIREN in HAIKOU

The prohibited and all activities involving the prohibited are prohibited.

Correct translation –

禁止倚靠 Do not lean against

User Submitted: 余姚农场主 in NINGBO

Never play water. Water will always defeat you one-on-one. Water is the final boss.

Correct translation –

请勿嬉水 Please don’t play in the water

User Submitted: MR SILENCE in CHENGDU

If no yellow bet poison. If yellow bet fire. If green bet poisonous fire.

Correct translation –

禁止黄、赌、毒 Porn, Gambling and Narcotics are prohibited

Have some funny Chinglish you want to share? Send us the picture on WeChat! We will pick the best ones each week to post!

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“Chinglish” – Hilarious Translations was originally published on The Puchi Herald Magazine

Learning from mistakes is not an easy task to accomplish

Learning from mistakes is not an easy task to accomplish

Learning from mistakes is not an easy task to accomplish

mistakes-are-the-stepping-stones-to-learningIt is common to read that we should learn from our mistakes. It is absolutely true. The problem when we talk about mistakes is to learn how to recognize a mistake, and which lesson we can take from it.

Although it seems a simple task to accomplish, it is one of the hardest to do.

Recognize a mistake


The mistake analysis is a serious thing.

First of all we should be able to recognize a mistake

Then we should analyze what kind of mistake we are dealing with

After we understood what the mistake is we should try to find out which lesson we want to take from it in order to avoid to repeat it again.

But it is not always so easy to recognize a mistake. Sometimes a thing goes wrong and we do not understand why, we focus mainly in find someone to blame or the guilt.

Causes or symptoms?

Sometimes it can seem simple to understand what a mistake is, the truth is that most of the time we are not actually able to understand the difference between the cause and the symptoms of a mistake. Looking in the wrong direction can make us think the symptoms is just a cause, this way we will never learn a lesson, but we will add new problem for the future.

To understand the point think about what a doctor should do to diagnose an illness. Sometimes what can seem a cause is just another symptom, so maybe you see fever as the cause of your debilitating, but fever is caused by what? By an infection may be? Or by something else? Looking for symptoms even apparently unrelated is, usually, the way to discover the root cause of your illness. Addressing symptoms without a proper analysis can drive you to the wrong diagnosis.

Do not look for someone to blame

The first rule when something goes wrong is not to find a guilty, someone to blame. It sound incredible but find a guilty will not help you to address the problem.

Sometimes people make mistakes because it is forced to from external factors, sometimes are just honest mistakes, sometimes is done for negligence, sometimes for will to damage.

No matter what is the reason our task is to understand:

  • What happened?
  • What went wrong?
  • What can we do to minimize the impact?
  • What can we do to address and fix the problem?

Those are the important things. If you just look for a guilty you are wasting resolution time. This can be just an output of the error analysis and not your first target.

Finding someone to blame could help your ego but hardly will address the real problem.

Understanding where the error has been done

Errors are not all the same

Most important errors can be divided into specific categories related to the level.

  • You can have error at strategy level
  • You can have error at tactic level
  • You can have error at policy level
  • You can have error at execution level:
    • Policies
    • Process
    • Procedures

Understanding where the error is mandatory to be able to address it and learn the lesson.

The problem is that, all errors have to deal with execution, because we measure the impact there, so it is a common mistake to stop the analysis at the execution level (where you can find your scapegoat to blame)

To find out what an error actually is and therefore what is its level somehow it is useful to do an approach similar to reverse engineering.

You should track back from the evidence of the error back to the real source.

At every piece of evidence you should take note of:

  1. Is this actually an output related to the error?
  2. What was the cause?
  3. Is the cause related to something else?

The relationship can be to other outputs or to procedures and process that are related to the specific output.

Ones you collected all the evidence, of course the problem is to see what was the procedure or procedures involved.

Sometimes it can happen that procedures applied correctly have as an output an error, this is the simplest case. In this case you have to step back in your analysis to the process that is connected to the procedure.

Alas sometimes an error in the procedure can hide a problem in the process, so if a procedure gave as result a mistaken output it is another common mistake to stop the analysis at that level.

The correct approach should be something like:

• Why this output is wrong?

• What kind of cause has developed the error?

• Is this error an exception or it can be replicated in this or different scenarios?

If we are not able to make a model of the error we can hardly fix the specific procedure.

The things are more complicated when we have to deal with different procedures but it is basically the same.

When we have created a model that describe the error we can expand our analysis further and see if the problem is strictly related by the way we feed the procedures andor the whole process lack of control points.

Process and procedures are, of course, different things. But theoretically a sound process should be composed by different procedures that design its physical outputs in detail.

The process itself should contain the enforcement point and the control point, all described by specific procedures.

Sometimes an error is simply a son of a bad designed process. If there are lots of procedures, over complicated or simply overlapped the probability of an error rise up.

So, as an example, a big excel form to be filled manually is a bad idea from a risk error management point of view, because it makes easier to make mistakes.

If someone input wrong data on an excel spreadsheet the blame should be, mainly, on the excel form. If someone can make mistakes it means the excel is not the good data input tool.

Even if the wrong data input has been done intentionally the real point is that the spreadsheet is to blame, because the procedure itself did not implement good control point.

The tools are not a secondary aspect in an error analysis, and also user interfaces and control points.

Again looking for a guilty will not help you to learn anything.

Iterating this approach we should be able to regress to the point the error real root cause is, and so at this point we should be able to understand what really happened.

Strategy, tactics, policy, process and procedures

Going backward looking for root cause is a tedious and difficult job because the root cause can be related to several different processes apparently not connected one to another.

A human error, as an example, can be related to excess of stress, of lack of training, or bad tools and procedure design, a toxic company environment, a bad boss or a combination of all those things and more.

Sometimes the liaisons that cause the error are related to different levels, so some are at procedure level, some can be at processprocesses other can be even at tactics or strategy level.

And it is should be clear that in a company there are a lot of strategies in place: how to deal with personnel, how to deal with the market, how to deal with production and so on….

When strategy fails.

We just hope not to have errors at Strategy level; this is really a bad thing. It means we are doing it all wrong. In this case we should put in place a correction that requires questioning all the structure we have put in place. The problem with errors at strategy level is that at this level it means you don’t know where you want to go….

The good news is that at tactics, process and procedure level not all will be waste. But all the interaction should be revised carefully.

Tactics can fail too

This is more common, but nevertheless quite painful. Tactics without strategy is just a waste of time and resource, strategy without tactics is even worse, just mere words.

Tactics should put in place how we want to go there, but this can be wrong.

Wrong tactics are the usual problem in war, which makes people lose battles. And losing a battle can lead you to lose a war…

Luckily tactic can be revised from time to time and adjusted to the objective. But if we are not able to recognize an error at tactic level we can simply make all effort vanish.

Processes and procedures won’t help to cover a bad tactic issue, because they can’t address the root cause, may be mitigate the effect.

So if you want to win the market with a wrong channel approach (a classical tactic mistake) you can cover it for a while with price policies or sales policies but sooner or later you will pay the price in terms of higher expenditure and minor incomes.

Policy, processes and procedures.

When we are really lucky the error is related to the lower level, between policies, processes and procedures.

In this case, assuming we have designed a sound system, we can address the problem and the related externalities that the problem can cause.

It is mandatory, at this level, to be able to understand how the possible solution or mitigation can impact other process.

Correcting a problem we create thousands new

A common issue when analyzing an error to learn a lesson is that the solution can be worse that the primary cause.

This happen, usually, for 2 main reasons:

  • Not all the implication has been correctly analyzed
  • The problem is actually at a higher level.

This is common, as an example; when we try to fix a bug in software, and the fix create other unwanted problems.

It is not that the fix does not solve the issue; it is that the issue and the fix does not live in an isolated realm, but are interconnected with the rest of the structure.

Correcting a bug is a good way to understand the question we are trying to sort out.

A bug can be just a simple piece of code bad written, or due to an architectural error in the whole software.

But the underline lesson we should address is: if there has been a problem in code writing or architecture design why we made this mistake? How we can correct it’

The real solution therefore would not be to write a fix, this would be just addressing the contingency, and the real lesson should be how to make developer in condition to write better code.

Error handling is not learning from error

learn-from-your-mistakesAnother common mistake is thinking that running around fixing problems and managing errors would be a good way to learn a lesson.

Alas sometimes what you have to do to fix the problem is not what should do to avoid the problem from the beginning. Fixing a problem is just contingency and requires a different approach from learning the lesson.

If you run an emergency response team, as an example, those things are clear. There is a huge difference between what you should do in an ERT and how things should run in a normal way. And this goes through every aspect, form hierarchy to people management, to actions to be done.

Thinking to run normal operation as in Emergency is just foolish because ERT are made basically to provide containment not standard operation.


learning-from-mistakes-8-638Learning from mistakes is one of the most important things we can do to improve. The whole point is to understand what actually the mistake is, and how to avoid it in the future.

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Learning from mistakes is not an easy task to accomplish was originally published on The Puchi Herald Magazine

The IoT Files: Culture

The IoT Files: Culture

The IoT Files: Culture



In the previous IoT flies tried to outline what are, from my point of view, some key factor that have to be taken into account when talking about IoT.

The last, but not the least, point I would like to put some notes is culture.

Since IoT is something that will shape out way of life on many aspect, we have to convene that culture is a key element in order to positively and safely embrace it.

Culture refers to billions of things, from language structure to literature, from how we share information to how we get them. In any of those aspects IoT will have a great impact and relevance.


IoT awareness.

From a cultural point of view embracing IoT means, first of all, the awareness of IoT is and its implication.

This awareness and understanding will be shaped while IoT will growth and become part of our life, but if we start to talk about cultural impact of something when it is already there, it is too late.

If we weight our experience nowadays we still do not have coped, from a cultural point of view, with all the technological advantage. Sometimes we simply refuse to accept them and label as bad, ot we use it without a real comprehension.

The result is under everyone’s eye, from the rise of cybercrime to the rise of internet dependencies and the apparent shrink of interpersonal relationships literature is full of example on how we still badly cope with the new technology.

Laws also are affected by this difficult to comprehend the new environment, as management culture as well.

IoT awareness is therefore way more important since is way more pervasive than our actual technology.

A new privacy

IoT will be so pervasive that will change dramatically our perception of privacy. as a matter of fact in the IoT world there is nothing like privacy at all, somehow there is always a sensor monitoring you, and this could drive to unexpected behavior reactions. But for sure a new approach to privacy will be necessary, as well as a new approach to privacy protection. In a world where all is turned on data, those data becomes the paradigm of our reality and so we will have to deal with that accordingly.

Communication Issues

But the changes are also related to the way we will communicate. New jargon comes out every moment, millennial have different language from generations X or baby boomers, and so IoT will developed its own language. How we will incorporate it and drive it is still to be defined, but in IoT the wide level of communication and data interchange will move all this to a worldwide scale. Language will not become a local issue anymore just because to exchange data it is needed a common communication framework. As for privacy without a common understanding of the rules will soon be turn this into a chaos.

Censorship and cultural constrain

One of the main issues IoT will bring with it is how to deal with communication restrictions, or in other words censorship. We have already mentioned censorship as one of the big issues that can affect IoT, to stress more the idea it will be not only a business problem but also a cultural problem. A world of sensor that are monitoring everything (this is the downside of IoT) can affect heavily systems believes and force some culture to close up into themselves. If we will not understand how to cope with it all relationships could be bring to the extreme.

We see it nowadays with the rise of Hate speeches, bullies, urban legends, fake stories on social media how difficult is to cope with more open communication channels, can you imagine what IoT will bring back? We have to assume that the number of data will be way more, and so the way people will interact with those data.

Who is left behind?

And the cultural issues will affect more the technology illiterate, and the ones will be left behind, marking a wider distance between the IoT world citizens and the one left behind. The digital divide is already a cultural problem, IoT will widen it up. Without the proper tools to understand this world the level of non comprehension will rise up dramatically, widen tensions.

And this is not just a problem from rich and poor countries, even inside rich countries the difference and the level of familiarity with technology vary dramatically in social groups or areas.

Illiteracy today is not just referred to not be able to write or do math, but also use internet and technology as computer or Smartphone. Just wide it up the gap with the introduction of new technologies….

How to teach all this

The root of the problem will become: how to teach all this?


Today a scholar system does not approach, generally speaking, the actual technology environment. Schools is, roughly, a century behind the modern world. Access to technology, how to deal with technology, is not common in most of the worldwide scholar system. Is not just a problem of technology in place (give a computer to every student) but also how to teach with the new tools and what to teach?

Cyber security basics, as an example, should be a mandatory introduction in any school of any grade, considering the age our children approach the technology without the proper mindset. But schools are slow to cope with the new world.

But also at corporate level illiteracy about cyber security, technology use, implication between technology and communication are the common reality, and this lack of knowledge spread at every level from the lowest to the highest. a very few exception here can be done.

This issue should cover all the aspect of educations, from first grade to university, to corporate training. We can not afford anymore children that does not know how to protect themselves from the cyber world, of university graduate that face the real world as completely illiterate of what they will find in the real corporate environment, of developers that has not the slightest idea what means privacy and security, of management that is not able to evaluate the impact of technology in their business and so on.

Not to be able to deal with this will means to be overwhelmed by the impact of those technology and, in last analysis, to be ruled out as dinosaurs.


And the list could go on and on. We can make prediction but we can’t see clearly the future (unless using a crystal ball). We need to have new cultural, linguistic, philosophical tools to help us to cope with the new reality.

What to do?

We should start it now, not waiting for some higher action. Share knowledge, awareness, talk and think about those issues is the first step to find a solution and address them.

This is also a call to be active in associations, think thank group or whatever you can to help rising awareness. and where you feel gaps in your own knowledge you can try to discuss them asking from support.

good thinking



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The IoT Files: Culture was originally published on The Puchi Herald Magazine