is a goal sometimes necessary to get the ball rolling?
are goals and targets almost always dysfunctional?
I don't see any value in setting goals for the number of kaizen events. It is typical MBA spreadsheet management thinking that has really no value in this instance. There are some times MBA spreadsheet management has limited, but actual, value (many alternatives would be better - but they still have some value).
Goals can be useful to set the scope of solution you are aiming for but in general are a bad idea. This example would be a horrible one, because fixating on the number of kaizen events is silly. No value, only loss - that isn't the prescription for a wise management choice.
Focusing on number of kaizen events seems likely to drive the counterproductive behavior.
how do we foster intrinsic motivation for kaizen?
This is hard. It involves large scale, deep cultural and management changes. Read the posts from Lean Daily, and the great management books and adopt ideas you learn...
I think this quote summarizes the reality behind setting arbitrary numerical kaizen targets. "managers will try anything easy that doesn’t work before they will try anything hard that does work" - Jim Womack