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Gamification of #thanks

Creating a shared communication channel as well as an integrated way to track and reward online expressions of gratitude.

Photo of Daniel Miyares
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Every single way that teams communicate should be a channel for expressing gratitude. However, while online communications channels are gaining in prevalence, brief instant messages such as “thx” and GIF’s which only nominally express gratitude are far more frequent than genuine, authentic, and systemic expressions of thanks. In a research post that greatly influenced my idea, University of Michigan student Daniel Wexler noted the importance of the “#positive-focus channel” within his company’s Slack workspace, “which was used solely for acknowledging team members’ successes and for recognizing someone’s hard work.” Whenever Daniel received a shout-out, he received an instantaneous rush of happiness, affirming his value as a worker. Most companies, unfortunately, do not seem to have such a public and ubiquitous setting for expressing gratitude. Furthermore, past simply giving a setting for expressing thanks and affirmation, the Slack channel does not do enough to actively encourage affirmation.

I envision a communication tool that directly integrates with online messaging platforms (e.g. Slack) to provide a shared space for expressing direct affirmations and gratitude, tracking these messages of thanks by giver and receiver, and presenting a gratitude score to employees at all levels. In the first sense, the tool would act as an automated Slack bot that would encourage each employee at random times to remind them to express gratitude within the channel, while also maintaining the channel for giving thanks. Secondly, every time an employee expresses a targeted gratitude (as shown in the example message), this tool would note the sender, receiver, and any positive reactions to the message to generate a cumulative score for the two employees involved. Such a score would mirror karma scores on Reddit, YikYak, and other social platforms by “gamifying” positive activity on the channel, inspiring a healthy sense of competition and exponentially higher volumes of gratitude. The tool could also integrate with the org chart, allowing for useful analytics on cross-functional teams and how they express gratitude. Finally, the Slack bot would present this score to employees and managers before performance review along with the specific affirmations received and given, for context. Through centralizing and tracking online expressions of gratitude, companies will be able to robustly reward team members who contribute the most to a positive, fulfilling office culture.

Idea Title


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

A tool that integrates with previously established communication platforms will reduce the friction for providing gratitude while actively encouraging public expressions of gratitude online. Through centralizing and tracking online expressions of gratitude, companies will be able to robustly reward team members who contribute the most to a positive, fulfilling office culture. Employees, in turn, will be incentivized by their desire to improve their own score either intrinsically or from their own desire to improve their prospects for advancement.

Who are you innovating for?

Teams which utilize communication tools based on instant messaging (such as Slack or HipChat) will benefit greatly from this idea because of greater visibility and increased expressions of genuine gratitude. Employees which typically may only receive gratitude within their small teams will have a much better chance of being recognized for the value they provide to a company.

What type of workplaces are you innovating for?

Workplaces with 15-1000 employees which are at least somewhat technically savvy, ranging from traditional companies to largely decentralized workspaces (since communication platforms reduce the need for geographical closeness).

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

I plan to validate the idea with users more extensively before deciding how to implement the solution.

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

I plan to validate the idea with users more extensively before deciding how to implement the solution.

How will you test and prototype your solution?

I plan to validate the idea with users more extensively before deciding how to implement the solution.

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

I do not plan on receiving an implementation grant, as I need to conduct much more research of users first.

At what stage of development is your Idea?

  • Research & Early Testing: You are exploring an idea, gathering inspiration and information needed to test it with real users.

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

The idea emerged from a collaboration with classmates and was inspired largely by a specific research post on the topic.

Tell us about yourself

Aspiring entrepreneur. Proud longhorn. Lifelong klutz. I’m happy to share my own perspective from I’ve gained from interning in the tech industry with startups and Facebook, studying at the University of Texas at Austin, and surviving as a millennial who doesn’t enjoy Snapchat.

Where are you / your team located?

Austin, TX (USA)

Company / Organization Name




Tell us about your experience

I have experience leading entrepreneurial teams as well as working as an intern at tech companies.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Lauren Ito

Hi Daniel Miyares ,

Great to see you in the Ideas Phase of the Challenge! I'm curious about what would incentivize people to participate in this initiative? What type of support are you needing--beyond financial support--at this point in time

Attaching the gratitude definition for reference as you build out your concept, I'm tagging in other posts in the challenge also focused on gamification. it may be helpful for Gratigame: The Game Where the Most Grateful Win! , Brighten - Make Someone's Freakin Day! , and Tree of gratitude .

Excited to learn more!

Photo of Colin Duetta

Hi Daniel,

Love where your head is at. Take a look at our submission, xocial. We currently have a proposal out to for integrating into Yammer, Microsofts business communication network. A few of our developers have also pitches the idea of a bot and Slack integration is on our radar. Our XO Score is meant to address some of your commentary here. Let me know what you think!

Photo of Daniel Miyares

Hey Colin, love the idea! How many companies have you integrated with so far? What have you learned from testing and implementation?

Photo of Colin Duetta

We're early days in coming to market but as I mentioned in our submission the need for an internal champion is critical. With that in mind, system notifications, with a gaming influence, can assist somewhat. Carrot rewards and the ability to donate to a cause are also on our runway.