Author Dan Pink has a delightful animated video out exploring what really motivates people to do good work, both inside and outside of the office.
"We are not as endlessly manipulable and predictable as you would think," he opens, and goes on to describe a series of social science experiments about what motivates us humans to work well.
The video is based on a study by the Federal Reserve designed to test our basic preconceived notion that monetary rewards are the best motivation for excellence.
The results are remarkably uplifting and seek to shine light into such modern mysteries as: why do people contribute to Wikipedia for free? Or, write blogs for the Huffington Post for that matter.
"The big takeaway here," Pink concludes, "is that if we start treating people like people and not assuming that they're simply horses -- slower, smaller, better smelling horses -- if we get past this kind of ideology of carrots and sticks that look at the science, I think we can actually build organizations and work lives that make us better off, but i also think they have the promise to make our world just a little bit better.