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Gratitude Bucket - A social network built around appreciation

A social network for appreciation and to recognize strengths in others.

Photo of Zack Prager
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Gratitude Bucket is a stream-lined social network for appreciation and recognition of strength in others.  Each user has a 'bucket' where others can express their appreciation for them and 'tag' them with strengths like 'creative', 'warm', and 'brilliant'.

Idea Title

Gratitude Bucket

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

I have found that most people have appreciation for others within an organization. However, there are not clear pathways for expressing and collecting that appreciation. When a team deliberately creates a space for others to express appreciation like a Gratitude Bucket, the members of that team will be more likely to express gratitude.

Moreover, when a team member receives a Gratitude Bucket and sees how much appreciation there is within organization for their work and character, it can be an overwhelmingly positive experience. Some users have even said it was life-changing. This experience, in turn, inspires them to give 'buckets' to others.

Who are you innovating for?

First, individuals benefit by creating 'buckets'. There is strong evidence correlating the expression of gratitude and subjective well-being. Second, the individuals will benefit from receiving 'buckets' of appreciation. Though the experimental evidence is less robust there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that receiving appreciation from others boosts well-being.

Organizations benefit when individuals feel appreciated--studies show that positive emotions spread through social networks.

What type of workplaces are you innovating for?

This intervention will work in small groups and it will also scale. A social network like this has no upper limit for the number of users it can handle effectively.

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

Since everyone is already familiar with social networks, the implementation can be managed with an email with instructions. Of course, it helps if the organization provides some incentives for on-boarding like a Starbucks gift card.

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

I implemented this network years ago and had time work on the problem of adoption.
I've come to believe that the biggest problem in social ventures like these is not the initial adoption but the breaks in the 'pay-it-forward' chain. There is some interesting science ( emerging around this topic and their findings can be used to prevent breaks in those digital pay-it-forward chains.
Also, nudges like org specific badges, gratitude templates, quizzes, will help

How will you test and prototype your solution?

I am a full stack engineer so I have already developed the network and tested in classrooms, business, and non profit organizations.

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

I would begin running A/B tests to determine what text and design factors influence the probability of a user paying appreciation forward.
I would design organizational specific badges that users could give to others. These badges would represent typical actions in the org that would warrant appreciation (i.e. launching a product, leading a meeting, brewing coffee, etc).
I would lower barriers to entry for the expression of gratitude. These would include templates, leading questions, etc.

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

My first true intellectual love is with positive psychology. I did my graduate work at the UPenn where I receiving a Masters in Applied Positive Psychology. My thesis focused on the idea of implementing positive interventions in web applications.

Tell us about yourself

Zack Prager, founder & developer: I have been developing software that promotes well-being ever since I did my graduate work at UPenn.
My positive tech includes, a social network built around appreciation and recognition of the strengths of others, Nudge Kick, an app to bolster willpower, and most recently, Ransomly, a bluetooth beacon that creates app-free spaces.

Where are you / your team located?

San Diego, CA, USA

Company / Organization Name


Tell us about your experience

I have mostly worked in the start-up space as a full-stack developer. Most of my recent work has been within the field of the positive tech. I have been able to develop my own applications as well as help other organizations like UPenn (World Well-Being Project) and Blue Zones build their own positive applications.


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