Monday, March 16, 2015

Motivation Breeds Innovation

Image source: bluelwandle.co.za

‘Innovation’ can be hard to grasp. Put simply, how do businesses, governments and organizations prepare for the future? Matthew Claudel tackles this question in a two-part series about the death, re-birth and total transformation of business innovation on Skyword.

His idea is that the starting point is in fact motivation, not innovation. Claudel calls for a ‘new motivation metric’. One that overtakes the typical business management structure and that looks to the economics of motivation specifically in relation to creativity. People tend to make a general assumption that increased reward = increased motivation, but this is not so when it comes to creative challenges. In fact, increased reward = stifled motivation.

Instead, creative drive should be considered in terms of three elements: autonomy, mastery (developing skills and confidence) and purpose (working towards something that’s bigger than you are). It’s the chemical reaction between these three that sparks motivation. It’s on a similar plane to my view that respect, recognition, learning and joy are what drives people at work and makes them happy.

An article on Entrepreneur provided some practical tips for motivating employees and encouraging motivation:
  • Reciprocate. Give feedback on ideas. If people understand why their ideas did or didn’t fly, they’ll be more likely to offer ideas again.
  • Recognize collaboration. Teamwork can promote motivation.
  • Contextualize. If people understand the purpose and timeframe their creative ideas are for, they’ll be more likely to come up with ideas that are feasible.
  • Celebrate well-considered ideas. Acknowledge the effort and audacity to innovate. It takes guts.
Claudel makes three good arguments for encouraging motivation to promote innovation. First, there’s the ‘needle in the haystack’ phenomenon – you might receive a deluge of ideas if you ask for them, but one good one in the stack could be a game-changer. Second, far, far-fetched ideas might seem extreme, but they could be of crucial importance for your long-term plans. Finally, the drivers behind motivation don’t just produce innovation, but empower your staff to produce results.

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