Extrinsic Rewards, Intrinsic Motivation and Kudos
One of the things Lunar Logic is known for is our Kudos system. The intention behind the idea initiated by our founder—Paul—is straightforward. Handing out a Kudos card is a way of showing appreciation to a peer. It is, by the way, one of our contributions to the community as it inspired Jurgen Appelo to spread the word. Heck, a couple times I was asked to be a consultant of companies working on their own Kudos system.
One thing about Lunar is that we continuously evolve. Kudos is no exception here. We kept tweaking Kudos system over time to serve us better. It’s not anonymous anymore; we know who we’re receiving Kudos from. Gifts that we’ve been receiving became hand-picked. We started Kudos Fest, which turned giving Kudos into a public activity.
Another thing about Lunar, though, is that we are fine to challenge status quo. That’s how this story begins. While we’ve been happy with what Kudos give us on individual level, we’ve also noticed that the system as the whole may have another effect—one that is not nearly as desirable.
It seems that the way the part of Kudos system works—namely the Kudos gifts—may defeat our purpose, which in this case would be encouraging desired behaviors. That’s why I decided to challenge that part.
If you are interested in the connection between extrinsic rewards, intrinsic motivation and Kudos, or want to avoid some pitfalls of designing your own appreciation system, the following video is for you.
Once you’ve watched the session you may wonder what the outcome was. Right now we don’t have Kudos gifts anymore. The decision was far from obvious. Controversial even. But that’s another story.