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Unplugged Gratitude Parties

Device free gratitude parties which include music, technology free activities and thank you cards in a celebratory camp like experience.

Photo of Scott Colby
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Device free gratitude parties which include music, technology free activities and thank you cards in a celebratory camp like experience.

Gratitude should be fun, not forced.  It should be a celebration of people - not only recognition for performance, but genuine and authentic appreciation of human beings.  Heartfelt.  Our unplugged gratitude parties take all of this into consideration.

Why unplugged?  Many of us spend all day on our phones or computers.  That doesn't work very well when it comes to expressing heart felt gratitude.  So our parties are device free, so we have more human to human connection.

Attendees check their cell phones at the door.  We have a gratitude wall where they write down what they are grateful for.  They get thank you cards, where they can write a handwritten note or 2 to someone they appreciate.  We have a gratitude scavenger hunt and other gratitude games.  At the end, each person reads one of their handwritten thank you notes out loud.  Reading the note out loud makes it more powerful and the appreciation is felt more deeply.

It's a fun time and everyone leaves feeling more valued and appreciation. These parties can be done as a pot-luck during work or as a happy hour/dinner party after work.

Idea Title

Unplugged Gratitude Parties

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

Our gratitude parties bring an organization closer together. When you're in a fun setting outside of the work environment, WITHOUT the use of technology, you'll connect more with each individual person within an organization. This isn't about celebrating accomplishments. This is about celebrating PEOPLE!

Who are you innovating for?

I'm innovating for organizations where workers don't have fun. Where workers don't feel valued or appreciated.

What type of workplaces are you innovating for?

Our Unplugged Gratitude Parties can be implemented for various organizations, especially ones that don't have any employee appreciation programs in place, or ones that do, but want their programs enhanced, and more fun!

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

Connecting with HR reps of companies that want to create a fun, gratitude culture in the workplace. After that, the HR Rep would set up an appointment with us, so we can learn more about the organization, the people in the organization, and what type of activities they want included in their gratitude party, as well as the party date.

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

One obstacle could be a close-minded company not interested in having a gratitude party. That can be overcome by educating an organization on the benefits of gratitude in the workplace (happier people, more productivity and job satisfaction, less turnover). Another obstacle is the expense. That can be overcome by working within a organization's budget and developing the party to stay within the budget.

How will you test and prototype your solution?

I would like to test this initially with 5-10 organizations and get their feedback. The testing would include gratitude parties 2-4 times a year and follow up to measure the results of having the gratitude parties.

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

1) Research 5-10 organizations to have quarterly or twice a year gratitude parties 2) Develop a system to measure the results of the party 3) Include before/after surveys of the employees to determine results and measure happiness.

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

Brainstorming with the Say It With Gratitude Team.

Tell us about yourself

Hi! I'm Scott Colby and I'm the Founder of Say It With Gratitude. Say It With Gratitude offers subscription based thank you cards designed by kids impacted by various causes. Each month, we support a different cause that we donate 10% to. We also help business increase profits with thank you cards and have trainings for organizations on authentic appreciation in the workplace.

Where are you / your team located?

Denver, Colorado.

Please describe your legal and organizational structure


Company / Organization Name

Say It With Gratitude


Tell us about your experience

Yes! See the above question about me and Say It With Gratitude.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Lauren Ito

Hi Scott Colby ,

Great to see you in the Challenge! I'm curious about what would incentivize people to participate in this event? How would you ensure the gratitude party had lasting effects beyond of gratitude as it is being defined for this challenge beyond the event (

IDEO recently published a blog about culture and ritual. You may find some of the content helpful in informing your post!

Lastly, I'm tagging in Thanksgiving at Work which is another post that focuses on workplace events! It may be helpful for you to exchange feedback!

Looking forward to learning more!

Photo of Monika Jiang

Hey Lauren Ito  thanks for connecting. @Scott Colby what an awesome contribution you have there! I often wondered what would happen if people loosen up and found ease and recharge energy through dancing/partying.
So congrats for building your company around this topic! Would be great to exchange thoughts our ideas, as I'd like to bring people together through/with good food ;) also focusing on connecting on a human level.
Looking forward to hear more!
best, Monika

Photo of Scott Colby

Hi Monika Jiang I love your idea and I totally agree. Coming together around a meal for good conversation, meeting new friends, and connecting on a deeper level is something that I've been more and more recently. As a business owner, and working alone all day, I actually just recently pledged to have dinner with friends twice a month, with no technology. I would love to keep in touch with you. :)

Photo of Monika Jiang

Hi Scott! Absolutely! Love the idea with the non-tech dinner. Actually, a great feature to be included in the thanksgiving at work concept as well. Let's def keep in touch!!

Photo of Scott Colby

Hi Lauren Ito 

Thank you for these thought provoking questions. I aim to create a culture of gratitude in the workplace where entire teams feel appreciated on the most human level. This will take more than just the unplugged gratitude parties and would need to be cultivate on a year round basis. The gratitude parties, at it's core, would provide an outlet so that team members could get to know each other in a fun environment, without technology.

How to incentivize people to participate? Food. :) It also has the element of fun. We also consider that not everyone wants to do something with co-workers after hours, so the gratitude parties can also be done during work, as a pot-luck for example, and the employees and all team members would get paid during this time. When we establish a culture of gratitude within an organization, people are more likely to participate in our parties.

The easiest way to know if the gratitude party has lasting effects is to ask everyone what effect the party has had on them. Again, I'm a big believer in keeping things on that human level and having open communication. If the people are happier, productivity will increase as will retention.

Thank you for the article on culture and ritual. I love it! And totally agree that when collaboration occurs people can passionately get behind an idea which in turn creates that culture.

We can use my gratitude parties as a platform to collaborate and create new ideas 2-4 times a year, that will serve in creating the gratitude culture. That's the beauty of doing these unplugged. Getting away from technology sparks and stimulates the creative mind, collaboration, teamwork and fosters communication.

Lauren, I strongly believe that any organization that wants to create a culture of gratitude should include experiences like our unplugged gratitude parties. In my experience, it's experiences in life that are the most memorable and make long lasting change.

Thank you for introducing me to these other people who are doing great things in the world. I appreciate having the opportunity to spread gratitude throughout the world!