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The Luxury of Corporate Innovators: Money Is Not the Key Driver

by Stefan Lindegaard
January 14, 20141/14/14 3 Comments

I was recently asked the following question by Ilan Mochari, who is a senior writer at Inc Magazine, as a response to my survey on The People Side of Innovation:

“One of the early results of the survey was that financial incentives and bonuses are not as important to the innovation process as the other four ways listed on the survey. Why do you think this is the case?”

This is my reply:

“Having spoken with lots of people over the years on incentives and drivers for innovation, I was not surprised that financial incentives and bonuses rated low. People who get the chance to work with innovation (full-time or part-time) seem to be very happy about their jobs and they are more driven by the passion of what they are doing. They also like intellectual challenges and being able to work with other qualified and competent people in order to reach their goals.

This just drives the financial incentives and bonuses down to a 3rd or 4th place if you rank what motivates such people. Of course, it should be noted that people working with innovation are already fairly or well compensated and as everyone else they also like a good paycheck and bonuses. They are just in a position where it is not the top of their objectives.”

Although, they deal with lots of uncertainty, less than perfect bosses and a faster and faster pace of change, work and innovation, corporate innovators should still be able to appreciate their situation, right? : – )

By the way: Ilan Mochari wrote this article based on my survey: Why Money Doesn’t Always Motivate Employees

Currently there are "3 comments" on this Article:

  1. HeleneNYC says:

    Interesting premise, but the "luxury" of the situation is probably directly proportional to the corporate adoption of innovation culture and tolerance for creating disruption. Seeing the change could definitely be it's own reward. However, an innovator in an unwilling environment can be excited by the vision of the future but experience fatigue and isolation if it takes too long to turn the ship. In addition, if the culture shows value through monetary incentives awarding the innovators in the same way sends the message that innovation is an equally important part of the business.

    • Stefan Lindegaard says:

      Hi Helene, I agree on this. This was kind of what I hinted to with my note on "less than perfect" bosses 🙂

  2. […] they also become more protective of them. In fact, a number of recent surveys have shown that money is actually one of the least important incentives for participation in innovation, ranking behind the feeling of involvement in changing things and even non-financial […]