Human motivation

Written on 30 March 2015, 03:46pm

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Two years ago I was posting 2 Ted talks having as central idea doing the things you believe in. I recently reviewed them and reflected more about the second – called ‘The puzzle of motivation‘ where Dan Pink makes a case on how the current types of activities we’re involved in require different types of incentives.
Dan Pink sees a mismatch between what science knows and what business does: even though there is scientific proof that creative jobs do not work well with rewards, the current business model works just like that.
There are a few exceptions, like the Google initiative to allow his employees to spend one day per week working on an independent project, Atlassian’s FedEx days or – most powerful example – how Wikipedia succeeded and Microsoft Encarta failed:

Encarta’s closing is widely attributed to competition from the much larger online encyclopedia, Wikipedia
Wikipedia page about Encarta (!)

Dan Pink identifies 3 building blocks of an entirely new operating system for our businesses:
Autonomy – the urge to direct our own lives
Mastery – the desire 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.

If we bring our motivation, notions of motivation into the 21st century, if we get past this lazy, dangerous, ideology of carrots and sticks, we can strengthen our businesses, we can solve a lot of those candle problems, and maybe, maybe — we can change the world.

More:
* What motivates us
* The Motivation Trifecta: Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose

1. Some princesses

Recently I bought a Panini sticker album with Frozen. I know, but I like animated movies and it reminded me of the time when I was collecting and trading stickers myself 🙂

panini frozen all
Images: paninishop.be

Some notes: In theory, you should not have any duplicate in a pack of 5 stickers.
Also, all the 192 stickers have the same representation in the envelopes. From my past experience, I know that’s not true. Even after swapping stickers with friends, some of the stickers were impossible to find.
Prices are pack of 5 stickers – 0.6€, 50 stickers 6€, 250 stickers – 30€.

2. The Birthday problem

So, I wanted to play a bit with the probabilities involved in this little collection game. The starting point was the Birthday problem, and the apparent paradox that in a class of 23 students, the probability of having 2 students with the same birthday is 50%.
The formula to find this probability is:
prob_same_birthday
(more…)

Do the things you believe in!

Written on 26 February 2013, 02:33pm

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A very inspiring TED Talk about how great leaders inspire action. It explains, among others, why people wait in queue for hours or days to get their hands on the new iPhone 🙂

[…] I call it the golden circle.

Why? How? What? This little idea explains why some organizations and some leaders are able to inspire where others aren’t. Let me define the terms really quickly.
Every single person, every single organization on the planet knows what they do, 100 percent.
Some know how they do it, whether you call it your differentiated value proposition or your proprietary process or your USP.
But very, very few people or organizations know why they do what they do. And by “why” I don’t mean “to make a profit.” That’s a result. It’s always a result. By “why,” I mean: What’s your purpose? What’s your cause? What’s your belief?
http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action.html

Later edit: interesting to observe how this different TED Talk leads, somehow, to the same idea. Dan Pink speaks about the The puzzle of motivation. It explains, among others, why the Wikipedia business model worked and Microsoft’s Encarta didn’t.

There is a mismatch between what science knows and what business does. And here is what science knows.
One: Those 20th century rewards, those motivators we think are a natural part of business, do work, but only in a surprisingly narrow band of circumstances.
Two: Those if-then rewards often destroy creativity.
Three: The secret to high performance isn’t rewards and punishments, but that unseen intrinsic drive — the drive to do things for their own sake. The drive to do things cause they matter.
http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation.html