Traveling a bit this week and will be occupied with trying to beat my nephews in squirt gun battles. As is my custom, I am reaching back to the archives for some bits of wisdom.
Back in 2009 I pointed to a TED talk by Dan Pink discussing how for most tasks facing companies today, extrinsic carrot and stick motivators are less useful than intrinsic motivators at yielding effective results.
As I wrote in my post back then:
He provides some interesting findings about motivation, namely that when it comes to performing creative tasks conditional rewards (if you complete X by Y, you will receive Z bonus) are not as effective as intrinsic rewards in obtaining results. The conditional rewards actually get in the way of creative thinking. This may explain why arts people are able to create in the absence of monetary reward.
I wouldn’t let this get around lest people insist that paying you more may rob you of your creativity.
He makes a link to our current financial difficulties saying that there is a disconnects between what science has known for over 40 years and what businesses does, which is essentially the carrot and stick approach.
Pink says the new operating model should be based on:
“Autonomy- Urge to Direct Our Own Lives
Mastery- Desire to get better and better at something that matters, and
Purpose- The Yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.”
Among the opportunities a non-profit arts and culture work environment affords is for autonomy, mastery and purpose as Pink defines them. There are times that people need to come together as a team, submitting themselves either to the authority of an individual or the will of the team, but what they bring to the table at such gatherings is often the result of intrinsic motivation.
In the context of my recent consideration about separating the intrinsic value value of art from its utilitarian value, I wonder if the intrinsic value of art may be heavily informed by the motivation in its creation.
Of course, this opens up a whole can of worms about the purity of the creative motivation the arts and culture community frequently becomes mired in.
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