Extrinsic Incentives Kill Creativity

If you read this blog, you know I believe extrinsic motivation is a poor strategy. This TED webcast Dan Pink discusses studies showing extrinsic rewards failing. This is a great webcast, definitely worth 20 minutes of your time.

  • “you’ve got an incentive designed to sharpen thinking and accelerate creativity and it does just the opposite. It dulls thinking and blocks creativity… This has been replicated over and over and over again for nearly 40 years. These contingent motivators, if you do this then you get that, work in some circumstances but in a lot of tasks they actually either don’t work or, often, they do harm.”
  • there is a mismatch between what science knows and what business does
  • “This is a fact.”

What does Dan Pink recommend based on the research? Management should focus on providing workplaces where people have autonomy, mastery and purpose to build on intrinsic motivation.

via: Everything You Think about Pay for Performance Could Be Wrong [the broken link was removed]

Related: Righter IncentivizationWhat’s the Value of a Big Bonus?Dangers of Extrinsic MotivationMotivate or Eliminate De-MotivationGreat Marissa Mayer Webcast on Google Innovation

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5 Responses to Extrinsic Incentives Kill Creativity

  1. Lydia Hirt says:

    Thanks for posting the video about Dan Pink — we’re also inspired and motivated by his work (thinking it’s worth the 20 minutes as well!) and appreciate your interest in the man behind the groundbreaking bestseller, A Whole New Mind. I’m excited to let you know that December 29 marks the release of Pink’s latest book, Drive. I’ve pasted a quick synopsis, below, but please email me if you’d be interested in an advance reading copy for review consideration!

    Bursting with big ideas, Drive is the rare book that will change how you think and transform how you live.

    Forget everything you thought you knew about how to motivate people–at work, at school, at home. It’s wrong. As Daniel H. Pink explains in his new and paradigm-shattering book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, the secret to high performance and satisfaction in today’s world is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.

    Drawing on four decades of scientific research on human motivation, Pink exposes the mismatch between what science knows and what business does–and how that affects every aspect of our lives. He demonstrates that while the old-fashioned carrot-and-stick approach worked successfully in the 20th century, it’s precisely the wrong way to motivate people for today’s challenges. In Drive, he reveals the three elements of true motivation:

    *Autonomy- the desire to direct our own lives
    *Mastery- the urge to get better and better at something that matters
    *Purpose- the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves

    We hope Daniel Pink’s Drive will open your eyes and change the way you think in 2010!


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