Dan Pink’s TED talk on innovation led to a slight little sparking in my brain in regards to innovation. Throughout my work I’ve been toying with the idea that across the last decade, much of the innovation that we have seen in terms of digital distribution of media has come from outside of the media industries. Napster, Gnutella, BitTorrent, etc. all appear to have roots outside of the media industry sphere and were produced without financial incentive. They were then more or less subsumed into the industry either willingly or unwillingly and the innovations these outsiders had produced were utilised.
What Dan Pink’s talk at TED may illuminate is why these innovations were created by people with no financial incentive. Pink’s talk, to paraphrase the conclusions, outlined that financial incentives like bonuses or higher pay will improve the output of someone who has a clear task to complete. However these financial incentives will actually diminish someone’s capabilities when asked to produce without clear rules or aims. It’s definitely worth a watch.