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Innovate through these four pleasures


The ‘Four Pleasures Prism’ is one of 30 techniques included in our PLAYBOOK, the free toolkit for creative thinkers.


Creativity is often about people and understanding the likes – or pleasure – they seek. The field of anthropology suggests looking at pleasures to help us understand people and what they want.


In 1992 Lionel Tiger classified pleasures into four different types: the mind, values, the physical and the social. These four human-centred lenses provide a useful prism to explore an issue and concoct more rewarding answers to their needs.


The Four Pleasures Prism enables us to understand people better by exploring what they want and what drives them. You can use it as guide for research, observation and questioning, or as an effective reflection tool to synthesise your findings.


The prism provides a useful format to help unpick people’s motivations and aspirations for your projects. You can download the Four Pleasures Prism worksheet below.

Four Pleasures Prism
The Four Pleasures Prism worksheet

Each prism should focus on the interaction of one user (a person, persona or distinct group profile) and an experience (such as a message, service or product).


Describe these in the centre of the worksheet or page.


Then explore that interaction and the person’s desires through each of the four pleasures in turn:

1 – Physio-pleasure

That is the physical and the tactile, derived or enjoyed through the senses. It is smell, touch, taste, feel, and sensuality.

2 – Socio-pleasure

Which comes from interacting with and relating to other people. It is about social status, belonging, and communicating.

3 – Psycho-pleasure

Is all about the mind and intellect. It is about how easy something is to understand, or how mentally stimulating it is to engage with.

4 – Ideo-pleasure

Relates to people’s values and aspirations. These could be religious, moral or aesthetic concerns. The environment or animal welfare, for example.



The worksheet is included in our free PLAYBOOK, a collection of 30 of our favourite tools and techniques. Download them all now in the PLAYBOOK.


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