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2 Ted Talks you cannot afford to miss

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Recently we’ve had these two TED Talk presentations going around the office and we thought we should also share them with you, as both have very interesting lessons on the innovation process.


In this 2009 Ted Talk, Dan Pink presents us “The Puzzle of Motivation”. Using the candle problem as an example, he explains how businesses have been getting it all wrong when it comes to giving rewards. Contrary to what might be expected, rewards can have a negative impact on high performance tasks:

“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, some evidence: Dan Ariely, one of the great economists of our time, he and three colleagues did a study of some MIT students. They gave these MIT students a bunch of games, games that involved creativity, and motor skills, and concentration. And the offered them, for performance, three levels of rewards: small reward, medium reward, large reward. If you do really well you get the large reward, on down. What happened? As long as the task involved only mechanical skill bonuses worked as they would be expected: the higher the pay, the better the performance. Okay? But once the task called for even rudimentary cognitive skill, a larger reward led to poorer performance.”

Surprised? So are we. To find out more, listen to Dan Pink’s presentation, we promise it will all make sense.

Steven Johnson tells us about “Where Good Ideas Come From” – ideas can sometimes come from an “Eureka!” moment, but most of the time we get them from other people, stitch them together and then create something new and that’s what innovation is. The spaces that have traditionally led to innovation are chaotic environments, where people come together from different backgrounds and share their ideas. If we want our organisations to be innovative we have to build spaces like this. Using the example of how the GPS was invented, Steven Johnson explains the marvel of open innovative systems and how chance favours the connected mind.

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