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Circles of Gratitude

This process allows colleagues to connect with each other in an uplifting way by sharing what they're grateful for.

Photo of Isabel Vadivu Govind
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Participants would  

  1. keep a gratitude journal for a few days. They can be guided by tips based on the work of Dr Robert Emmons and Dr Sonja Lyubomirsky.
  2. then share at least one item from the journal with their colleagues.   
  3. listen actively and appreciatively to each other's gratitude stories. Appreciate the person sharing for their strengths or tell the person how their sharing positively impacted them. 

Idea Title

Circles of Gratitude

How the Idea will inspire the experience and expression of gratitude within an organization.

- People learn from and are inspired by each other's gratitude stories. The sharing gives them ideas for more to be grateful for. - People learn about each other things that they otherwise may not. It opens up space for people at work to also share personal joys if they choose to, humanising bonds between staff. They are not just thanking each other for workplace related matters. They are opening up treasures in their lives in a safe and appreciative space. - The appreciative listening allows people to immediately express gratitude to their colleagues for the gifts they have received through their sharing.

Who are you innovating for?

This idea is for culture architects (C-suite executives, organisational development and human resource professionals) and other change agents in any workplace who want to promote high quality relationships, positive communication, resilience, and high performance.

What type of workplaces are you innovating for?

I've tested this in Singapore. I believe this idea could be applied to any workplace. I recommend circles to be small (max 4 people) so that the conversations can be more in-depth and give people time to not just go through a list quickly but to truly share what's most meaningful and listen appreciatively. In more fast-paced environments, it could be done a little faster to suit the needs of the team. (The photo shows staff at the Singapore Kindness Movement ( doing the exercise.)

How you envision the Idea being introduced to your selected organization?

I already do this with my clients.

What obstacles, if any, do you foresee in implementing this Idea, and how would they be overcome?

I've noticed that some peope find the sharing part challenging but this discomfort is to be expected. It may be useful if - the senior leaders role-model and encourage this as part of the culture they'd like to promote. - there's a gender mix in sharing circles (where possible) - this practice is integrated into selected work meetings right at the start

How will you test and prototype your solution?

I already use this intervention. It is because I have witnessed the benefits with my clients that I am proposing it here.

What immediate next steps will you take if you receive an implementation grant.

If I receive the implementation grant, I would - work with at least one team which wants to practise this longer-term to study impact on some measures - run more workshops to introduce the practice to more organisations which want to scale it up - get marketing collateral created - get a visual created on how to do this exercise Getting the award would lend credibility to the idea, help me reach out to more organisations and share about it through well-respected publications and media.

At what stage of development is your Idea?

  • Full-scale roll-out: You have developed a pilot, tested, and analyzed the impact of that pilot as it pertains to the problem scope. You are ready to expand the pilot significantly and begin to scale.

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

Gratitude journal - Dr Robert Emmons, Dr Sonja Lyubomirsky Strength spotting - VIA Institute of Character and CAPP UK

Tell us about yourself

My name is Vadivu Govind and I'm the founder of Joy Works, a boutique business with a mission to promote high performance and human flourishing in workplaces and educational institutions. I enable the building of social, emotional and psychological capital in organisations and this has positive effects on individuals, organisational outcomes and the wider community.

Where are you / your team located?


Please describe your legal and organizational structure

Sole Proprietorship

Company / Organization Name

Joy Works


Tell us about your experience

I'm a facilitator and positive psychology coach who does leadership and staff development. I'm also a Science of Happiness of Happiness at WorkTM practitioner, an Appreciation at Work facilitator and a strengths practitioner who uses Strengths Profile and VIA character strengths survey. I have had a regular gratitude practice for many years and I believe it is one of the practices that has transformed me in a way.


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Photo of OpenIDEO

Hi Isabel Vadivu Govind ,

Great to see you participating in the Ideas Phase of the Challenge! We see your post is currently unpublished. Was this your intention?

We encourage you to publish Ideas on the platform as early in the Ideas Phase as possible. This gives our community the opportunity to engage with your post and ask questions. It also ensures your team has enough time to integrate feedback into your concept.

To publish your post please select the "Publish" button at the top of your contribution.

Looking forward to seeing you in the Challenge!

Photo of Isabel Vadivu Govind

Appreciate the reminder! :)

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