3 comments on “Innovation Incentives in Tough Times

  1. Thanks for a nice discussion of incentives and what matters to researchers. It echoes what Daniel Pink wrote about in Drive, in which he suggested that once a basic level of financial security is achieved for innovation/knowledge workers, the key elements to retain good people and see the rise of innovation are autonomy, a sense of purpose, and the opportunity to continue learning. What you describe above meets that pretty well. I particularly like your example of management providing challenges in, essentially, a subordinate way versus the more typical: you must deliver X drug candidates to the next stage by year’s end. This fits the concept of purpose, and if done correctly can allow autonomy in pursuing those goals. Allowing people to travel fits in with the opportunity to continue learning.
    I think another element of this is, once financial incentives are firmly established, I believe it actually changes the way people think about what motivates them. A mentor once asked me, after my first year in Pharma, what I thought of the bonus. I reacted enthusiastically. He then smiled and said, “yeah, and next hear you’ll expect it, and it won’t be such a great incentive.” Which is true. If people become conditioned to financial compensation being the main form of recognition/incentive, trying to change the system might actually be detrimental because personal valuation of incentives has become outwardly rather than inwardly driven. So, how do you make these kinds of changes in an established organization?
    All opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Novo Nordisk.

  2. Pingback: The Anatomy of an Inspirational Innovator: Antoni Gaudi | Innovation Crescendo

  3. Pingback: Identifying Great Innovators in the Workplace: Nikola Tesla – Crazy Scientist or Great Inspirational Innovator? | Innovation Crescendo

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