OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Mobile App: Give a Shoutout, Get a Shoutout.

In order to increase expressions of gratitude in the workplace, I recommend creating a mobile-friendly app and its respective website.

Photo of Tanisha Mitra
1 1

Written by

In an attempt to inspire expressions of gratitude in the work place, I suggest creating an app that allows all the employees in a particular workplace to give shoutouts and receive shoutouts. 

The app itself will have everyone in the company on it. Think of it like twitter but everyone who follows you is a work colleague. You can set up your profile with your name, picture, etc. 

Shoutouts can be of any kind. Some examples would be acknowledging a peer employee for their effort, hard work, extra hours put in, over-the-top productiveness, ability to manage stress positively... etc. Pretty much anything that an employee does that deserves a pat on the back can be posted on the app.

In order to avoid lengthy posts, the app will have a word limit. For example, employees have to compliment each other in 20 words or less. The idea behind this is to keep the app concise and easy to read for all. Also, lengthy posts could intimidate other employees and they might hesitate from posting all together. Making it a requirement to keep it short and simple avoids this pressure and stops people from getting too personal. 

I would like the shoutouts to result in points. The person who receives the shoutout will get more points because they are the one who actually engaged in doing the positive act. However, expressing gratitude to those who deserve it is also important and hence, those who give the shoutouts are awarded points as well. For example if Mary gives Joe a shoutout, Mary earns 3 points for herself and Joe earn 5 points for receiving a shoutout. Allowing the person who gives the shoutout to earn points will hopefully encourage employees to acknowledge each others' work and increase friendliness. 

The point system will serve as an incentive for the employees because the points will amount to a gift. The gifts can be decided by the bosses and will vary company to company. Employees may redeem their points a set amount of times per year. Some employees may choose to save up their points while others may choose to spend it as soon as they have enough for the first item- that is entirely up to the individual. 

Idea Title

Empowered Employees

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

It would highlight people's efforts to the company/department at large. With the point system in place, it encourages people to be grateful and it motivates people as they get complimented. The points result in a tangible gift so engaging in the app serves a purpose. Everyone can use the app/website and the inclusive nature benefits all because they can partake in a positive environment.

Who are you innovating for?

I hope all employees benefit from this idea. They will feel good giving and receiving shoutouts. They will feel motivated to engage in good work and acknowledge others' good work. When the get gifts in turn for their points, it will serve as further positive reinforcement.

What type of workplaces are you innovating for?

I think it might get messy to cater this app to hundreds of people in a company. Hence, if it is a bigger company then the app can be used separately by each department. Each department would have their own platform where they give shoutouts to others in that department. If its a smaller company where everyone knows everyone, I believe it makes sense for there to be one platform where everyone engages. Therefore, my app can be for organizations of all sizes.

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

I would present the app similar to how I presented it on this blog. I would give a run down on its components, how it will work, what it will look like, ask for suggestions on word limits, gifts that employees can receive with their points, etc. I would want those who are higher up on the management scale to implement the idea. If bosses and managers use it, it will encourage newer employees to use it more. Plus, they would definitely be interested in knowing who is getting acknowledged by the bosses. I would need the entire workforce to work together in order to make the app successful. I require participation from everyone.

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

For those who are older, they may not have smartphones. Therefore, a online version of this app must also be in place in order to make this program inclusive. I also think that people may think it is a bigger deal to receive a shoutout from the boss, rather than a peer of equal work experience. In order to stress that there is no difference in who gives the shoutouts, I will make the points received the same, whether it comes from the managers/bosses or the guy who recently started working.

How will you test and prototype your solution?

Make sure the app is user-friendly- I would need a trial period and I would need to do updates on the app as I receive feedback from its users.

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

I would begin designing the app. I have an idea of what it would look like. The feed would be similar to a twitter feed. It would allow the user to request to join a group (if you work at Amazon Seattle HR, request to join that one in particular). It would also allow users to update their info (w/ pictures). However, I would also want to combine a little bit of Venmo's feed into it. Venmo has things like +$3.00. Instead, each post in my app would say +5 points (or any other number of points).

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

I talked with a bunch of my friends to figure out what types of expressions of gratitude are NOT efficient. When it came to thinking of my own idea, I made sure my idea wouldn't distract from productivity, it can take place all year long, it is convenient to use, and it takes others' opinions into account.

Tell us about yourself

I am a student who is really into technology!

Where are you / your team located?

I am a senior studying at the University of Michigan.

Tell us about your experience


1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of OpenIDEO

Hi Tanisha Mitra ,

Excited to see you sharing your idea. Is there any chance you could find an image to go along with it? Images help grab attention and tell a story. You should be able to use the Edit Contribution button on the top of your post and follow the instructions to add images from there.

Looking forward to seeing more of your inspiring insights on OpenIDEO.