Additional comment on Dan Pink's presentation http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation.html. A follow up to my posting on 10/15.
In one example provided by Dan Pink in his presentation about motivational techniques he provides an example of how an obscure Australian software company occasionally gave their employees one day to work on anything they wanted to. He likened this to a Google policy that let's their employees spend 20% of their time working on anything they want and he cited the incredibly beneficial results gained by both companies as a result of providing employees this freedom to think and innovate on their own. Remarkably his point was that that these workers were successful because they were not offered an incentive or reward. Previous to these examples he explained how offering them awards would focus their attention and limit their ability to use the right side of their brains and innovate. I say his conclusions are remarkable because offering employees paid time to stop performing their normal jobs and think outside the box to come up with radically different ideas is by definition an award.
His thinning here is so backwards its difficult to see where he went off the tracks. Perhaps he assumes every award must take the shape of a toaster, but clearly he missed the point. The Google policy as I see it seems to boil down to"...come to work and do your assigned job 80% of the time and we will reward you by giving you the other 20% of your time at work to do whatever you want to innovate for the company...". Great example of a unique and effective motivational incentive program, thanks Dan.