Motivation Mapping

Understanding the motivation
Contributed by

Stephen Goto

Published August 11, 2021

What Is Motivation Mapping?

Motivation Mapping is an exercise to understand the motivation for ourselves or the customer. We use a canvas divided in 5 sections and identify the persona, context, outcomes, motivations, and obstacles.

Attribution: This practice comes from Gabrielle Benefield's Mobius Navigator Toolkit

Why Do Motivation Mapping?

Motivation Mapping uses a simple canvas to organize the following

1. Persona - Who are we creating this map for? This could be our own organization, a specific target customer, or a corporate client.

2. Context - What is the environment surrounding the persona? What platform are we operating on? What are the factors impacting our environment?

3. Outcomes - What goals does the persona have? What do they want to achieve? What state should they be in to say that they have reached their goals?

4. Motivations - Identify why they set these outcomes. Why is this person pursuing these goals?

5. Obstacles - What is preventing them from making progress on their objectives? What are the impediments?

How to do Motivation Mapping?

  • Divide a canvas into 5 sections. Two boxes on top, three boxes below. The top-left box is WHO we are understanding the motivation for. The top-right box is the CONTEXT. The bottom three boxes are MOTIVATIONS/JOBS, OUTCOMES, and OBSTACLES.
  • Gather the team, department, business unit, or organization into one place.
  • First identify WHO (top-left) the Motivation Map is for, then work on the other boxes. If this is a specific customer, be sure to narrow down the persona. Don't forget to give the persona a name!
  • Identify the CONTEXT (top-right) of the persona. This will help us understand what environment the persona is operating in and help us step into their shoes when filling in the other boxes.
  • Define the OUTCOMES (bottom-middle). Try to think like the persona and define what they would like to achieve. Place the boxes vertically, as each box will need to link to an item in the next section.
  • Define the MOTIVATIONS/JOBS (bottom-left). For each outcome, define at least one motivation behind it. Think of why the persona wants to see that outcome.
  • Define the OBSTACLES (bottom-right). For each outcome, identify what is preventing the persona from reaching that outcome.
  • Once the Motivation Map is completed, hang it in a place where the team, department, business unit, or organization can see it at all times. This is not a static document. It's a status board that shows the current state, and it needs to be updated regularly.
  • Start by creating a Motivation Map for our own organization, then work on a Motivation Map for the customer or other business clients.
  • Ensure that the customer's outcomes are linked to our own outcomes. This helps us understand what products or services should be provided for our customers so that our own outcomes can be met at the same time.

Look at Motivation Mapping

Links we love

Check out these great links which can help you dive a little deeper into running the Motivation Mapping practice with your team, customers or stakeholders.

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