April 29, 2014, 7:13 p.m.
A Day of Ideas at FutureShift http://bit.ly/1otabvR

Intrinsic by design: how to get under the skin of people's motivations

Making is a practice that has been at the heart of our first few days travelling across Europe. Visiting @makedoandmend_ was much more than that, it was about recovering, reimagining and rebuilding.

1. Help people connect to your activities in their own way and time

@makedoandmend_ sounds like what it does on the tin. Of course, it does do all of those things.

But it's also a platform for people with mental distress to connect with others in their own way and in their own time.

It was developed by people who'd gone through depression and other psychological difficulties who wanted to enjoy life again...and with others.

From a very dark place, people whose experiences aren't understood, let alone supported, can feel welcomed in a safe space.

2. Don't think of a volunteer's journey like a ladder, but like an ivy wall 

That's why people who join @makedoandmend_ navigate the different ways they can participate in a very serene and convivial way - because they feel valued

@makedoandmend_ don't tell them what to do, but detect what they'd like to do and work with their strengths as a platform for getting them more involved.

It's not a pre-designed ladder of participation, it's like an ivy wall of involvement.

People can immerse themselves in activities, observe other people like them, learn and share what they can do in the same physical space as each other.

3. Don't tell people what to do, build activities around what they're good at

What fascinating us about the people helping organise the @makedoandmend_ community was how they saw themselves as "asset spotters" first and "facilitators" second.

They detect what motivates people and how they can build on even the smallest ounce of enthusiasm that people have got left, particularly if they're feeling really down.

That the asset spotters have experienced similar levels of mental distress to people just joined means they can relate to them much more viscerally.

That means that you can't depend on processes or even service journeys, you need to work with the flow and personalities of the people that join your organisation for the first time.

Sometimes what society defines as short comings or special needs can also become special skills…but only if you encourage people to use all their senses, not just carry out a task mechanistically. 

It reminds me of a talk by @Julie_Burstein who describes how dyslexics can better understand sentences through being sung, because of the flow in the language.

It’s perhaps what separates invisible citizens from lifestyle hackers - the confidence that someone has given them to uncover their intrinsic motivation, their inner mission. Which is why it’s becoming clearer and clearer why the @hublaunchpad is not focusing on solutions, but on missions.

In another Ted Talk, @hannahbrencher asked people to write to her so she could write to them, because her mother didn’t use email and wrote to her by paper. When she arrived at NYC got depressed and wrote letters to stranger. Now people write others to strangers. Knowing they may never meet and through a form of communication that is much slower & less connected. So why would people write letters to strangers? You’ll need to check out @moreloveletters to see for yourself, but it makes me think that we mainly focus on designing services based on extrinsic needs customers express.

It’s our intrinsic motivations that are most difficult to identify and yet closest to our values. Understanding people’s intrinsic motivations would help understand what would motivate them to help each other, which we mapped out recently.

What if we switched it and tried to understand people’s intrinsic motivations?

What deep down motivates you to get up in the morning? What are the activities you get involved in where you lose sense of time? What civic initiatives mobilise people’s intrinsic motivations? 

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