Innovative Thinking – What Motivates You? – Blog 124

What Motivates You?


In order to be creative, you need to be motivated.  There are many things that motivate different people.

From my experience, engineers are motivated mostly by success.  Success in the form of “I did it!”  When I owned my software company and 30 employees, it was surprising how different each person’s motivations were.The software and electrical engineers were motivated by making it work.  The admin staff was motivated by “organization.”  The sales team by far was motivated by money.

Money isn’t a bad motivator.  It’s easily measured.  It was more quantitative and less qualitative.  It is much easier to develop programs to motivate salespeople than engineers.

When you look at your own innovation, you need to consider what motivates you.  Is it fame?  Do you want to be famous for creating the next killer app?  Is it just because you can?  Or, is it money, wealth that motivates you.

For me, the difficulty with innovation was always understanding my motivation.  For decades I never worried about money.  It never motivated me.  I built the computer systems for the disabled first, because I really got excited when I was able to help someone.  My second motivation was because I could.  Building something no else had before then seeing it work, really motivated me.

While helping people and doing things no one else has done before as they say, doesn’t pay the bills.  Until I realize that for innovation to survive, the innovator needs to survive.  It took about 20 years for me to understand this and slightly shift the way I looked at the rewards for innovation.  I slowly included compensation to my motivation mix.

Now that I have motivation in balance, I can innovate and not have the stress of financial worries which would otherwise destroy my ability to innovate.


Grab your pen and pad and turn on your brain (and your emotions).  It’s time to be honest with yourself.  You don’t need to show this to anyone and I promise, I won’t look.

In a recent survey of several large companies, management was asked what they thought was the top five motivators for their employees.  Then, the employees were asked to list their top 5 motivators.

Rank your responses to questions 1 through 5, plus be sure to fill in the “Other” space with your most important motivator.

How different were your answers when compared to a typical employer.  What did you write under “Other”?  How would you rank that answer when added to the list of all the answers given above?


Remember to keep this in mind when managing your Team Think!


“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”

-Margaret Thatcher


Lon Safko
Serial Innovator, Keynote Speaker, Trainer, Innovative Thinking


Tags: innovative thinking, creative, creative thinking, Innovation, critical thinking definition, innovation definition, critical thinking skills, creative process

Innovative Thinking Bible
Now On Amazon

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *