The reminders come too often now. The motivational repertoire, or root system, for human behavior is scarily--and often sadly--basic. But it's elegant as well, as Nir Eyal and Ryan Hoover note in their book, "Hooked, How to Build Habit-Forming Products."

  • We seek pleasure and avoid pain
  • We seek hope and avoid fear
  • We seek social acceptance and avoid social rejection

Eyal and Hoover also look at a behavior change model proposed by Dr. BJ Fogg, founder of the Persuasive Tech Lab at Stanford. Fogg asserts that for behavior to change (i.e. for a consumer to act, buy, etc.), three elements need to converge in a real-time moment:

  • Motivation
  • Ability
  • Trigger

Fogg's behavior model (FBM) is a kind of plug-and-play dashboard that helps account for why consumers do what they do to consume, and it looks like this:

Pretty basic stuff. Pain, fear, and social rejection each works as an embedded, mostly unconscious or pre-conscious catalyst for what forms, full-blown as a trigger of our behavior.

So, it's interesting to read about technology "early adopters," the assumption being that the insights describe people at home as opposed to people at work. Pew Research research associate Brian Kennedy worked with associate director of research Cary Funk to extract insights about new data on the number of folks who are comfortable experimenters and users of advanced technology, noting that a little over one out of four American adults (28%) "prefer to be early adopters of technology products."

Here's Kennedy and Funk's key take-aways of the Pew Research:

Overall, 52% of adults say they “feel more comfortable using familiar brands and products,” and 39% describe themselves as preferring to wait until they hear about others’ experiences before trying something new themselves. Similarly, 39% say they prefer their “tried and trusted” brands.

But 35% of Americans say they like the variety of trying new products, and three-in-ten like being able to tell others about their experiences with new technology. About one-in-six adults (15%) say they usually try technology products before others do.

We wonder whether the same number and percentage of people feels the same way in a professional or work context, and suspect it to be so.

When it comes to trying what's new, what's different, what's unfamiliar, those very basic building blocks of motivation kick in very strongly.

Mostly, given how many of our organizations are configured and staffed, large or small, we just don't have much time for the "nice-to-have" and need to focus single-mindedly on the "must-have."

HIVE: Housing Innovation Vision and Economics

At our upcoming HIVE event, September 28 and 29, in Los Angeles, we'll definitely focus on the "must-have" dimension of innovation. If performance excellence today is the highest priority in your organization, think of HIVE as focused on performance excellence tomorrow that you need to think about today. It's a way to attain pleasure and avoid pain. Register now for HIVE here.