By Daniel Pink
Reviewed by Giselle Carr
Issue 6 Winter 2010
What shapes human desire to perform any action? What is it that truly motivates us? In his latest book, Daniel Pink shows us scientific evidence that the “carrot and stick” reward system currently in place in most business models is not at all effective because human beings are simply not motivated by extrinsic rewards. Instead, Pink likens motivational ideas in business to an operating system that is outdated. He describes three elements that must be in place in order to enhance human beings’ natural drive – autonomy, mastery and purpose. “This era doesn’t call for better management. It calls for a renaissance of self-direction,” he argues. The role of strategic design is being redefined as we find ourselves in an age where we have the ability to communicate all our desires across media, and in so doing influence each other. “It’s in our nature to seek purpose. But that nature is now being revealed and expressed on a scale that is demographically unprecedented and, until recently, scarcely imaginable.
The consequences could rejuvenate our businesses and remake our world.” Pink presents a thorough toolkit as the third portion of the book, for individuals, businesses, parents and educators, and more. This was an incredibly engaging read, as it shattered many of the established consumer behavior “truths” of marketing and design. The strategic designer can use the principles discussed to convey more meaningful messages and practices through design, but also help the consumer to reconsider what makes the message meaningful in the first place.