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Monthly Celebrations

Acknowledging special events in employee's lives leads to a more connected workplace.

Photo of Cassidy
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A specific white board posted in a break room or common area that has space for birthdays, workplace achievements, special events (i.e. weddings, graduations) and holidays (be it random or federal). Human Resources would send a list of birthdays, some workplace achievements and a budget to the managers monthly. Employees would be able to write if they have anything to celebrate and specifically how they would like to celebrate it. Then, sometime during the month, there could be a small, company-funded celebration, possibly free food or simply cards, for everything written on the board.

Idea Title

Celebrate Us! White Board

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

My first thought was to see when expressions of genuine gratitude take place. After reading many different posts, I came to the conclusion that employees need to feel connected or bonded in order to feel as if they can give specific, genuine gratitude to those around them. My idea of having a board as well as some money provided by the company to acknowledge the achievements and celebration of employees will lead to a community that knows each other. Being able to congratulate someone on their birthday, or understanding how stressful work may be for them because they're getting married, is the first step to being able to express your own gratitude.

Who are you innovating for?

The people that will benefit the most from this will be the employees that come into work each day. They will be the ones looking at the board, planning the monthly celebration and ultimately participating. This will lead to the employees feeling closer to one another and being able to appreciate what they do for each other.

What type of workplaces are you innovating for?

The ideal workplace for my idea is one that has people who interact daily. Any environment that employees work together and have a chance to know each other's name would be suitable. This could look like a franchise of a restaurant, or each floor in an office building. It would also work across many cultures because although each has their own preferences for what to celebrate, celebrations still occur in all cultures.

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

The person responsible for maintaining the whiteboard and ensuring the option to celebrate during break times is the manager, or any similar position. The manager would be able to introduce the board and explain how it works at any meeting. Because it is a very simple idea, they would simply need to explain that the employees write something they'd like to celebrate and at some point during the month, set up the common area or break room with however they decided to celebrate.

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

The biggest obstacle I see having to overcome is getting people to really use and look at the board. If it is placed in an inconvenient, or out of the way place, then no one will be able to see the board and the point of it is defeated. Placing the board in a popular area may help this along with possibly adding mirrors to the side of the white board to draw people over to it.

How will you test and prototype your solution?

A trial would be rather simple to run. I would offer a pre- and post-survey on how connected the employees feel and their feelings on the white board and parties and how to better the idea would be. The trial would last around six months and could have some monitoring and mentoring to ensure the board is getting used properly.

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

The next key steps I would take would be to design a prototype and get feedback on design. Then a trial could be run where ever is appropriate. Having the implementation grant will help with paying for the prototype as well as finding companies willing to test out the product.

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

My idea emerged during my Psychology of Creativity class at the University of Michigan. We have each been working on OpenIDEO and posting our research so that when we get together we can brainstorm and come up with new ideas.

Tell us about yourself

My name is Cassidy and I'm a senior at the University of Michigan- Ann Arbor.

Where are you / your team located?

Ann Arbor, Michigan.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Monika Jiang

Hey @Cassidy, congrats on this great idea! Though I do love the good old whiteboard, I'd think about whether or not to digitize this format, especially for larger organizations. This way, people could contribute from wherever, whenever. Also you could implement an algorithm or voting feature where the top contributions could be voluntarily voted up and realized for the next month. Just a thought :) Keep it up!

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