Science of Motivation

by Amalia

This is a very interesting presentation by Daniel Pink about the science of motivation. He talked about how contigent motivators (e.g. if you do this, then you get that) mostly did not work and even brought a lot of harm. This includes providing bonuses for better performance or quality of work or promoting a staff if an important task can be done well or even threatening someone with a sharp stick if he/she doesn’t get the work done. According to him, this sort of works that involves rewards or threats narrow our focus and concentrate the mind; i.e. it restricts our possibility.

So, what would be the solution? Well, there’s a new approach that are built around the desire to do things because they matter, because we like it, because they’re interesting, and because they are part of something important. This is called an intristic motivation.

This type of motivation is done famously by Google. I’ve read it somewhere few years ago. Basically, the engineers at Google can spend 20 percent of their time building anything they like. What’s the result? About half of the new products are birthed during that 20 percent of time; this includes Gmail. Isn’t this awesome?

Now, this led me into thinking. How can I use the similar approach to my kids later on? How can I motivate them? It’s not something I want to think about now. But it’s certainly something I need to start thinking about from now on. I wanna feel like they do something because they enjoy it. Because they like it. Not because of the pocket money they’re going to receive. The gadgets that they can get. Or something like that. I don’t want to make them feel like they are forced. That’s hard, isn’t it?

Hmm… I should perhaps start reading books about parenting 😀