Saturday, June 25, 2011

Irish Brain Drain

Ireland is suffering from a skills shortage. The problem is framed in terms of attraction, not retention. The policy prescription is to provide incentives for talent to work in Ireland. I think we have an outdated notion about what motivates migration. (Via Aaron Renn's Twitter feed) The same force that is behind great work also informs relocation:

In his latest book, Drive, author Daniel Pink debunks the power of external motivators, and expands on the intrinsic motivators that inspire us to do great work. Using research from a study out of MIT, Pink argues that traditional rewards – external motivators like a year-end bonus – only elicit better performance from people doing rote tasks. But once the barest amount of brainpower is required, higher financial rewards fail to produce better work. In fact, they actually inspire worse performance.

The idea that urban amenities will attract the Creative Class is wrong-headed. Regions(and Ireland) need to figure out how to tap into the intrinsic motivations of knowledge-workers in order to attract them. A city should be a place where talent can achieve goals, not experience world class public transit.

Daniel Pink's book should excite Rust Belt communities. The urban frontier is full of opportunity, the kind that speaks to the intrinsically motivated. City attraction is about possibility and personal reinvention, not a cheaper cost of living in the UK. People develop, not places.


Scott said...

Completely agree 100%. The concept of a creative class that congregates in a few arbitrarily selected metros is flat wrong.

rootvg said...

Ireland has a skills shortage? So does Silicon Valley. Our HR guy says closing deals is getting harder and harder. All the decent talent (Java, apps, database, network) is being scooped up.