I’m a fan of Daniel Pink. I think he does an excellent job breaking down complex business problems and encouraging new ways of thinking about them. I especially like his 2009 book Drive, The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, and I keep coming back to it when I think about creating Value.
A key topic of that book is the complex interplay of reward, incentive, and motivation. In the book (and in a related Ted Talk) Pink explains an experiment using an old puzzle called the Candle Problem. I won’t re-hash the whole thing, but the upshot is that a group of subjects was asked to solve a puzzle and told they were being timed—but only to establish a baseline. When a second group was asked to work on the same puzzle but were offered a decent cash reward for finishing in the top 25% (and a larger reward for reaching #1), the time for that group to complete the puzzle changed…Continue reading