Dan Pink gives an excellent TED talk about what does and doesn’t work with respect to motivating people to higher performance.  It turns out that while traditional incentives (e.g., money) improve people’s performance on mundane well understood tasks, traditional incentives actually reduce performance for tasks that require creativity.

So what incentives improve people’s performance in creative tasks?  Here are three that scientists have discovered.

  • Autonomy — The freedom to direct yourself.
  • Mastery — The opportunity to get better and better at something that matters
  • Purpose — The chance to serve something bigger and more important than ourselves.