29 May, Wednesday
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Kirjoittanut: Helena Tahlo - tiimistä Kipinä.

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Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 4 minuuttia.



Self-motivation, work motivation, external motivation, internal motivation ext. Motivation itself has many formats, and finding the motivation isn’t as simple as it sounds. There are many ways to create a way towards more motivation but in the end, it all depends on us as individuals what motivates us.  Motivation is the desire to drive toward your goal. It consists of two types of motivation internal and external. Internal motivation is considered more long-lasting and powerful than external, but we do need both at times.


Even a small meaning makes a difference


Experiment 1


In the Ted Talk “What makes us feel good about our work”, Dan Ariely shows us three experiments, that display the fact that meaning is the key to motivation. In the first experiment, Dan presents a Lego task. The idea of the task is to see how long will people’s motivation last, depending on how much meaning is taken from the task. In the first part, people were offered money to build a character from Legos. Once they had built the character, after achieving that they were offered a little bit less money every time than last time for the same task. This continued and the experiment showed that people were willing to build the Legos 11 times even with the deflation of the pay.  In the second part of the experiment, the idea was the same, but every time the people had built the characters and given the money the experimentalist took the character and broke it back into the starting Lego pieces. This experiment led to the resolution that people were only willing to do it seven times. (Ariely 2014) And this shows that if we take the meaning of the job away the desire of the worker to do it even with the same pay is decreased considerably.


Experiment 2


To prove the point even better they concluded another experiment. In this one, the candidates were given a piece of paper. On the paper, there were bunch of letters, and their job was to find the alphabets that were the same and next to each other.  Also on the papers’ right top corner was a place to write their name on. After finishing the task, they were to give the paper to the experimenter, and they would then scan the paper from top to bottom and then place it into a pile. In the second part the candidates wouldn’t write their names on the paper and the experimenter just took the paper and put it in the pile of other pages. In the third part, the experimenter when given the paper would put it straight through a shedder. At every experiment level, they were given a payment same as in the Lego experiment. The results showed that in the first part, people worked all the way down to 50 cent pay. And presumed in the next part people did not go lower than 30 cent pay. But what was found was that the shredding parts result were the same as in the second one. And this concludes to the idea that ignoring people’s output is almost like shredding their work. (Ariely 2014)


Experiment 3


There was also a third experiment mentioned in the ted talk. This one showed how much time and effort make things to us more valuable. It showed that even though the end result of the product would be more horrendous than they were to be, the maker of the product would still give the product a higher price tag. Because for the maker it took more time and effort to do, which for them means more value. And this can be called the “IKEA effect”. (2014)


By taking these results and diving deeper into them we can find ways to positively motivate our employees, our teammates, and ourselves. By finding the meaning of the work through individual motivation, works better than handing out external motivation.


Motivation at work


In Scott Gellers Ted Talk “The psychology of self-motivation”, Geller refers motivation to empowerment and specifically feeling empowered (Geller 2013). And for this Geller gives us three points to fulfill to be empowered.


·      1st Point is to think can you do it, do you believe you can do it, do you have time to do it, and do you have the knowledge and training for it?


·      Second point to think of is will it work, do you have the education for it


·      And thirdly Is it worth it


Geller says that by fulfilling these points and saying yes to them makes you competent for the task and that way makes you empowered to do it. He also acknowledges that by empowering employees’ choices is a crucial point. (Geller 2013) By giving choices the choosers feel that the choice is an opportunity and not a requirement. And just like that the choice being an opportunity changes the mindset of the chooser to a positive output.



Motivation learning session

Picture 1. Katja Asbill 2023


We in Kipinä had a learning session directed at the subject of motivation.  Our task in small teams was to think of motivation through teams- and individuals’ perspectives and create a visualization from that. We started by dividing a sheet of paper into external and internal motivation. The external being the team and the internal the individuals. The first and most important word that came to us was meaning and that word we put on both sides. Because meaning can be found in yourself and in your passions or be given and found through work. We also collected words like passion, joy, effort, and time.  The external side was placement for the words like money and fringe benefits, but also appreciation. We concluded our thoughts on the idea of how we as a team can enable our members to be motivated. And for us, that meant letting our individuals find their passions, and decide on their goals, and that way we empower our people to be empowered through meaning.


Sources :

Ariely, D.2014. What makes us feel good about our work?. Ted talk.

Geller, S.2013.The psychology of self-motivation. Ted talk.