Monday, July 11, 2011

Rewarding behaviour; toddler psychology

I often remember back to when the kids were small and we'd reward them with a single sweet for staying dry overnight; or give them a sticker on a chart...

Now, there's a flurry of suggestions that we can and should do the same in the business world: give people 'points' to encourage them to do what you want them to do. And the points don't even have to be worth anything tangible for them to work. (The sweet we gave our kids was no big deal; the sticker on the chart even less. The important thing was that they were recognised, rewarded, celebrated.)

Jane McGonigal's Reality is Broken makes the point so well; and TechDirt has an amusing prediction by Jesse Schell that more of life will get rewarded with points - even for brushing teeth, because toothpaste companies, toothbrush manufacturers and dental health plan providers have a vested financial interest in encouraging us to do it; and the technology makes it easy to monitor and 'fun' to do.

And the privacy implications?! Do I want to live in a world where my dental health is monitored in one or more cloud databases? Will I have a choice?? Will I be able to escape the inevitable economic iron laws at work here?

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