Think of Intrinsic Motivation 3.0 as an operating system (OS), a set of protocols that drive us in economic arrangements and business practices
Dan Pink (author of “Drive”) uses the OS analogy to describe the different types of motivation:
- Motivation 1.0 was based on the our basic needs for food, security and sex. Think biological drive.
- Motivation 2.0 is based on our response to reward and punishment. Think carrot and stick nudge in a desired direction (requires monitoring).
- Motivation 3.0 is based on our drive to learn, to be creative, and to build better world. Think internal fire that drives us to do or be more (is self sustaining).
All tasks can be divided into one of 2 categories:
- Algorithmic tasks: Those that follow a set of established instructions down a single pathway to one conclusion. Process oriented tasks where the same task is done over and over and can be effectively motivated with extrinsic motivational methods. Algorithmic jobs are becoming easier to replace as technology advances. e.g. online much purchases or travel reservations replacing travel agents and CD stores. Many Algorithmic tasks are being outsourced to cheaper labour markets, like India (PA’s, bookkeeper, etc). If you have an algorithmic job, you may want to consider switching your career path while you still have time.
- Heuristic tasks: These tasks have no algorithm, we have to experiment with possibilities and devise a novel solution. These types of jobs involve creativity and doing something new, or finding innovative ways to solve problems and work best with Intrinsic motivational methods. Heuristic jobs often involve building personal relationships and innovation and as such are more difficult to replace with technology. e.g. public relations professionals, programmers, coaches and beauticians.
The Stats in the USA show that less than 30% of new jobs now come from algorithmic work, whereas over 70% come from heuristic work. As technology improves routine work will be outsourced or automated more. Heuristic work which involves interpersonal skills, artistic ability, empathy, or non-routine innovative work generally cannot be outsourced or done by technology.
Extrinsic motivators (carrots and sticks) can be effective for rule-based (algorithmic) routine tasks as there is little intrinsic motivation to undermine and not much room for creativity anyway. To increase the impact of rewards for routine tasks:
- Explain why the task is necessary and how it fits into the overall plan/project. Potentially boring work can become more meaningful if it is linked to a larger purpose.
- Acknowledge the task is boring.
- Allow employees some latitude to complete the task their own way (autonomy).
Intrinsic motivation involves engaging in a behaviour because it is personally rewarding. Effectively performing a task or activity for its own sake, rather than the desire for some external reward. How would your team perform if all the members doing heuristic tasks were driven by intrinsic motivators?
Research shows that external rewards (and punishment) can be effective for algorithmic tasks, but they can have a devastating impact on heuristic tasks. Solving novel problems in a creative or innovative manner relies heavily on the human intrinsic drive and passion of those involved.
When motivating think Intrinsic Motivation 3.0 rather than carrots and sticks.
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