Design for Multiple Motivations

in the Huffington Post: “Community is king for any collaboration platform or social network: Outcomes are primarily a function of the participating users and any software is strictly in their service.
With this in mind, when creating new platforms we define success criteria and ask ourselves who we might attract and engage. We ask ourselves where they congregate (online or offline) and ask what might motivate them to participate.
It’s often claimed that everyone’s incentives need to be the same in any successful system. However, no communities or individuals are identical, and their needs and interests will also differ. Instead, our experience has taught us that a site’s users might have wildly differing incentives and motivations, and if you value diverse input, that’s healthy…
I was fortunate to go to a lecture by Karim Lakhani of Harvard Business School when we began imagining OpenIDEO. He did a wonderful job of showing the range of potential incentives and motivations of different community members in this framework:


Given that we agreed inclusivity was a design principle for OpenIDEO, it followed that we should design as many of these intrinsic and extrinsic motivations into the platform as possible and that our primary job was to design a system in which they were all aligned toward the same common goal….More recently, as we have begun applying the OI Engine platform to enterprises we have been pleasantly surprised at the power of these non-financial motivations in driving contributions from employees. In fact, one client’s toughest challenge when selling the platform into his international bank was in convincing the managers that prizes weren’t required to drive employee contribution and might instead compromise collaboration. He was vindicated when thousands of employees actively engaged.”