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The Gratitude Book Practice

Changing the mindset of organizations one book at a time

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The idea is to spark the feeling of gratitude trough random acts of kindness, unrelated to daily job tasks. By using books as catalyst to connect people at work, we propose starting a chain acts of kindness.

By leaving books in key areas of the workplace, people who pass by can pick them up and encounter a personal note inviting them to:

1) Read the book and leave it for someone else to read afterwards. Or, read the book and give it to someone specific as a way to share the movement.

2) Along with the personal note, we propose adding a way for people to commit acts of kindness right away. We believe that when he/she reads the personal note and experiences the feeling of surprise and gratitude, in this moment they will be more likely to want to carry out their own gratitude initiatives.


  1. The book is a gratitude tool.
  2. If you find a book, you will be able to grab it, take it home and read it. 
  3. But first, that same day you will need to share a gratitude gesture with somebody using the stickers inside the book.
  4. Once you finish the book, you need to return it to the institution. You can choose from:
  • Leaving the book with the note in a random place.
  • Or leaving the book in a designated return box.

Idea Title

The Gratitude Book Practice

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

Immediately: People will have stickers with simple gratitude messages that they can pass along to their co-workers in notebooks, coffee mugs, laptops; anywhere that a sticker can be added. Giving a wide range of opportunities for a person to express their gratitude to a co-worker in the same day. Long-term: after reading the book, people will be inspired to pass the experience along to other people. This will be caused by the nature of the book, a personal growth theme, and remembering how good it felt to have had the surprise of encountering this book in a normal day of work.

Who are you innovating for?

We are innovating for people in the workplace that are interested in engaging in activities that will improve their productivity and motivation. People who understand that having a positive mindset helps develop our brains further by seeing other sides of a situation.

What type of workplaces are you innovating for?

We are innovating for small and large organizations that have tried conventional, "formal" ways of gratitude and are looking for out of the box, informal activities. Size could range from 200 to 5,000 employees. We currently work in a 2,000 employee organization but can see this implemented in a department level with only 200 people and scale up to the whole organization.

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

The institution buys the books. This activity can be led by HR. The topic of the books will need to be aligned to personal development to make sure most people are interested in reading them. Topic examples: Mindset change, Personal development, Work and personal balance, Happiness, How to develop their creativity. 1) Books are left in different places in the institution. 2) Each book will have a cover with the set of rules, explaining why is that book doing there and a note to include once the person finish the book.

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

The logistics of keeping track of books and assessing the success of the initiative. We're thinking about having an internal website to log all books and their path along the organization. It can also feature pictures of the stickers being used.

How will you test and prototype your solution?

We would select a department to start with. We would buy 3 books, add the stickers, add the notes to each and leave them in the most used conference rooms. We'd add a QR code for people to let us know that they have pick up the book. We'd be testing to see if people pick up the books to start with.

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

Having a budget to start buying the supplies to create a beautiful, thoughtful experience will allow us to start prototyping and iterating with small projects instead of the traditional institutional approach of setting up budgets, governance, etc. Once the idea is tested and there are results to show, our organization and others can go through this process to streamline the initiative.

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

We team up to bounced ideas off each other and the best one we liked was the initiative from Emma Watson: Book Fairy. We then started to think how can something like this be implemented in an organization like ours.

Tell us about yourself

We work in the Technology department of the Inter-American Development Bank. Vanessa Colina, User Experience Designer and Carolina Ordeix, Visual Communicator and Illustrator.

Where are you / your team located?

Washington. DC. USA.


Tell us about your experience

We have been working in the Design and Communication field for the past 12 years.

Attachments (1)

The Gratitude Book Practice.pdf

Presentation of the idea, implementation and visual materials.


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