Should I offer rewards for winning solutions?

If you want to change your audience’s behavior, incentivize them for innovation. Consider whether your rewards reflect the customer experience you are trying to instill in your team and the values of your customers.

Rewards can entice engagement, increase productivity and encourage participation in the program. For example, a company might reward their ideators with holidays and cash to help improve participation rates. However, this can create less cohesion as people only saw value in submitting ideas, instead of crafting them or collaborating with others.

As with rewards, sometimes incentives can be a double edged sword. When motivating people to sustain a project, avoid the use of extrinsic rewards and focus instead on favoring intrinsic motivations such as an idea collection driven by a higher purpose or the chance of self development. Sometimes it is enough to simply just recognize contributors with light praise and appreciation as well as celebrating successes.

Often, the person submitting the idea will already have some valuable opinions and knowledge about how to proceed. They are most likely eager to discuss their ideas, as they have made time to research it. This can be highly rewarding for you and the participant.

In summary extrinsic monetary rewards are best for menial tasks (e.g. rating ideas) not creative tasks (formulating ideas). Introducing extrinsic rewards can spike activity but undermine long-term motivation and engagement.

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