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Rewards and celebrating success

I’m gathering ideas for how to reward / celebrate teams doing well at accessibility. Here are some starter, rough, notes.

Why celebrate

  • Feedback on the outcome of actions is important.
  • Progress towards clear goals is rewarding.
  • Humans are social animals. Social proof, social herding, and the availability heuristic can help others do the right thing too. Social context gives value to numbers.
    • Co-operation is a more powerful motivator than competition. It allows for reciprocity. It helps feeling like we’re part of something bigger and that we’re helping others.

When to celebrate

  • Reward immediately for success, progress, choices. Humans are better are short-term things.

What to celebrate

  • Behaviours. They’re leading, not lagging, measures.
  • Improvements. Compare to what others have done, and to our own past performance.
    • Not all places are evenly spaced: first and last are much heavier.
    • Non-contingent rewards (aka participation awards) can help balance things when people aren’t doing so well.
  • Achieving a milestone. They’re inherently motivating. They must be something worth celebrating: something that takes weeks or months to do.

How to celebrate

  • It must be clear that it is a reward, what it’s for, and why it’s worth having.
  • Rewards that are meaningful and personalised are more motivating.
    • Praise and pride. Short, specific, praise.
    • Promote a growth mindset. Praise the effort, not the outcome.
    • Make it emotionally positive. “Turn up the volume.”
  • More time / cost / effort spent means people expect a bigger / better reward.


  • Allow for insight: clear, compressed in time, discovered by the person themselves.