A Trip Down RAM Memory Lane

BY Michael D. Mosettig  April 16, 2010 at 10:21 AM EST

Editor’s note: On Thursday’s NewsHour, Paul Solman spoke to Dan Pink, author of a new book Drive, about what motivates behavior and innovation in the modern workplace.

PAUL SOLMAN: Executive pay and Wall Street bonuses,… might not enhance, but actually retard, high performance, or so says writer Dan Pink, once Al Gore’s chief speechwriter.

DANIEL PINK: We tend to think that the way you get people to perform at a high level is, you reward what you want and punish what you don’t want, carrot and stick. If you do this, then you get that.

That turns out, the science says, to be an extraordinarily effective way of motivating people for those routine tasks, simple, straightforward, where there’s a right answer. They end up being a terrible form for motivating people to do creative conceptual tasks.

To see non-material incentives in action, Dan and Paul visited System Source, a computer infrastructure firm in Maryland, and took a tour of the company’s computer museum. We couldn’t include much of the tour on the broadcast, so here’s an extended version of Dan and Paul’s trip down RAM memory lane.

We will warn you: Inner geeks are on full display.