“we need to get people more involved. anyone have any ideas?”

“let’s have a contest.”

no. let’s not.

contests and giveaways and the like are extrinsic motivators. take away that extrinsic motivation and the system falls apart. when people can no longer win ipads or gift cards to outback steakhouse, the behavior you’re hoping to generate will quit along with your willingness to reward them for it.

“let’s have leadership make it a requirement.”

requirements work to get your long-term numbers looking better than even contests will, but unlike contests, requirements create disdain. nobody appreciates being forced into doing anything they don’t want to do. then—as most rules—people will begin to figure a way around those requirements. perhaps some rogue offshoots even begin to pop up and the new system you dumped millions of dollars into creating gets subverted by a free piece of software on the internet.

“let’s make this thing so fun and interesting and remarkable that people want to be more involved.”

that’s really the only viable answer for both short-term and long-term success. if you want people to be excited and engaged and willing to participate, save the gift cards for the holidays, don’t threaten them by creating new requirements, and focus your energy on making that thing truly remarkable instead. even the mundane can be interesting if you try.