Motivation Matrix

People perform actions because they are triggered by motivations. Pretty much all of the motivating factors out there can be distilled into six core types: incentive, achievement, social acceptance, fear, power, and growth.

  • Incentive: any type of reward-oriented motivating factor; can be monetary or not monetary

  • Achievement: the kind of motivation that’s propelled by the drive for competency

  • Social Acceptance: essentially the need to belong to a group and not feel ostracized

  • Fear: motivation that is based off of wanting to avoid certain outcomes or consequences

  • Power: motivation that is derived from the need to be autonomous or to gain and maintain control over others

  • Growth: intrinsic motivation that encapsulates wanting to become a better version of oneself

By creating a matrix that relates these motivating factors with various users of a product in different contexts, you can write statements that predict how a user might interact with the product in a particular context.


We recommend doing this exercise after empathy mapping so you have a clearer understanding of your sponsor users. In the example below, you can see that the simplified empathy maps are on the right (with the blue stickies). Within each motivation cell, there are two types of stickies: we used pink to represent the any insights around that particular motivation when applied to the user; yellow was used to depict the potential actions that the user could take place given the motivation.

Motivation Matrix applied to AngelList

Motivation Matrix applied to AngelList