The APQC Blog

Adam Grant on How to Incentivize People to Share Knowledge

At APQC’s recent 20th annual KM conference, the perennial question on how to create incentives for collaborative behavior came up. In my very first Big Thinkers, Big Ideas interview with Adam Grant, Wharton professor and author of Give and Take, we discussed how the right incentives can drive the behavior you want and encourage everyone to “give.”  More importantly, the right incentives encourage people to be productive and collaborative. 

In Part 1 of my interview with Adam he discussed incentives and keys to building KM Communities, and in Part 2 he discussed how to facilitate sharing knowledge in KM communities.

Part of our interview is excerpted below:

CARLA: Adam, for KM, the framework of giving, taking, and matching is central to the way communities of practice work. If there aren’t enough givers, nothing gets contributed; nothing gets created. If enough people are engaging in giving behavior, a community or network can thrive. This is probably true for the larger organization as well. So how do we encourage that kind of behavior? You give lots of tips in your book. Have you come across some other interesting ways to reward and recognize giving behavior or givers in a public way?

ADAM: It’s a great question. I think the challenge that we’ve all struggled with is, if you do too much rewarding and recognizing of givers, you basically incentivize takers to become better fakers. You also encourage people to engage in forms of giving that are highly visible but not necessarily that valuable.

You can read the entire interview with Adam Grant in our Knowledge base.   

To subscribe to the
Big Thinkers, Big Ideas podcast on Itunes, click here.

You can connect with me on Twitter @odell_carla

(You may also want to check out Adam Grant’s work with Sheryl Sandburg, COO, Facebook, on raising awareness about gender bias in the work place. Their articles can be read in the New York Times. )