Motivational Design

Group discussing the role of motivation in design and how designers can better support their own motivation and that of their clients and customers.

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Latest Activity: May 22, 2013

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Comment by Matt Currie on October 4, 2009 at 2:39
Hi all - I'd made a few comments on this topic over on and would like to join in the ongoing conversation that's happening here.

First a quick intro: I'm a service designer (currently employed in the public sector) passionate about creating service experiences that delight people, deliver profit and sustain our physical and social environments. I live and work in Hamilton, New Zealand.

I've only recently made a real entrance into the social media realm as a design thinker, so please excuse me for just "dropping in" on this conversation (I'm a little unsure on social media etiquette).

Fergus - I've checked out iteration 2 of the motivational personas framework and feel it's lost a bit of usefulness for me (over iteration 1). Hard to put my finger on exactly why that is, but I find that there's a lot going on now with multiple layers of info - a lot to interpret.

If it would be helpful to you, I can look at the diagram some more and come back with some more specific thoughts...
Comment by Adam StJohn Lawrence on October 2, 2009 at 14:10
Hi Fergus,

I like the new version a lot - though I don't immediately see what the left ("observed" etc) column is telling me.

In my work, this stuff is crucial. A service design which is not well over to the right of the chart will not stick, and if it is not extreme right edge, it will not grow. The problem is, the behaviour associated with a lot of the midfield levels is very similar - and easy to confuse. Worse, someone who is going through the motions can very easily "infect" people who are more self-motivated.

This may seem a bit esoteric, but I just came out of a masterclass with the singer Theo Beckmann (most googleworthy). He had us holding one note while he played or sang others. Notes that were very different to ours were no real problem, even if they were disharmonic. But the semitones above and below our target note were really seductive. It sounded almost like our note, but was that little bit easier... and soon sucked us off track. Sometimes I think motivation work is like this. It's not the scowler in the corner who is the problem, but the guy who is just a little less motivated than me..


Comment by Adam StJohn Lawrence on September 21, 2009 at 14:24

"Furthermore, how does this idea fit with the common trend in the industrial era of 'making things easier' and 'usable' for users - surely rather than generating user awareness of their capabilities and skills this is actually preventing them from experiencing this..."

The things that are made more "useable" are largely tools. My MacBook is more useable than my PC, so it frees my creativity. Perhaps our job as designers is not to try and play down the complexity of the world, but to give people useable tools and strategies which they can use themselves to understand and work with that complexity.
Comment by Adam StJohn Lawrence on September 21, 2009 at 13:32

It's a nice PDF, but I needed some time to figure out what was going on.

Some suggestions:

- make the "why" and "how" headings more prominent.
- do something to show that it is a continuuum - perhaps the old smiley-to-grumpy faces might work.
- I think the fact that both the why and the how contents are both "thoughts" is a little confusing. Could it be more like "what I think" vs "what I say"; or perhaps "what I think" vs "what I do"?

Just a couple of ideas, hope they are useful.

Comment by Mariya Loginova on September 21, 2009 at 13:29
Interesting discussion. From the point of view of empowerment theory there are fiew things that needs to be questioned.

First of all in order to feel empowered and be motivated a person needs a goal. It can be long-time or very simple and small related to the doing.

Then there are issues of beliefes related to contexts and skills the person has obtained from various sources.

Then there's an issue of emotions related to the goal and the whole process.

So besically the power for motivation comes from this process of being aware of this things, thus giving motivation that will renew - empower - itself.

What do you think about this?
Comment by Nina Lysbakken on September 21, 2009 at 12:38
I am also looking forward to it - my MA-project is about motivating children in school for learning, so I've read about motivation psychology and trying to bridge this with a solution :)
Comment by Mark Whiting on September 21, 2009 at 12:06
As I mentioned on twitter. It would be great to learn more about this perspective.

I'm looking forward to it.

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