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Gratitude Express - Simple, Quantifiable and Universal

Helping organisations keep a constant, universal flow of gratitude and linking this to measurable business benefits

Photo of Chris Keene

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For individuals, it’s easy in workplaces today to get so caught up in the rush to get things done that we forget to thank those around us for the help that they give, or the little things they do. And it’s equally easy to feel like, even if you do, you’re the only one that seems to be giving thanks.

For businesses, it’s also easy to forget the affect that gratitude has on employees, and even harder to quantify this to show how it affects employee satisfaction, productivity and general well-being in the business. 

So how might we go about not only reminding employees and employers to show gratitude to those around us and also recognise those that show gratitude on an ongoing basis? And how might we go about proving the effect that this has on the productivity of a business to help demonstrate the worth of investment in future initiatives that help foster and sustain a culture of gratitude?

The core of our idea is in two linked parts:

  • To work with business to implement simple, universal and quantifiable way to measure how grateful to others you are (and how grateful they are to you), and combine this with a system that will allow users at all levels of a business to effortlessly show and receive gratitude as a second nature
  • To link this to quantifiable business and personal satisfaction metrics to show the effect of a cultural gratitude shift over time, and link this into initiatives that will further promote this paradigm shift on an ongoing basis.

By working closely with focus groups within businesses, we hope to take our set of framework KPIs and tailor them to the specific needs and situations within businesses and develop a simple, intuitive and, most of all, effortless way to recognise achievements and contributions at all levels throughout organisations and link this to the effects that gratitude has on business performance.

Idea Title

Gratitude Express - Simple, Quantifiable and Universal

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

It’s wonderful to be thanked, and it’s wonderful to thank others, but sometimes it’s hard to put a measure on just how thankful people are. For example, is a “thank you” that you might get for holding a door open for someone equivalent to the “thank you” you might get if you worked through the night to help meet a critical deadline? By creating a simple way to quantify gratitude that is universal across all levels and throughout all areas of an organisation, and ingraining this into the culture by making it effortless to provide thanks, we can encourage a constant flow of gratitude throughout the organisation that provides a real, tangible way to measure everyone's impact every day.

Who are you innovating for?

Everyone who has a workplace! By creating and implementing a quantifiable measurement of gratitude that is not linked to department, or seniority level, or job role, we hope to be able to affect all parts of a business and allow people to experience, and provide, thanks to everyone they interact with every day! Furthermore, we hope to be able to use the quantifiable output from this to allow employers to demonstrate the effects that gratitude has upon worker satisfaction and motivation.

What type of workplaces are you innovating for?

Hopefully, again, everyone! By creating an universal way to measure gratitude that is not restricted by seniority, job role or industry, we hope that the concept will be able to be easily duplicated and adopted across multiple organisations. However, recognising this, organisations with a technology infrastructure that supports a method to instantly, easily provide and receive gratitude will provide a landscape that is more conducive to rapid uptake!

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

Working with a dedicated focus group with our Challenge partner, Vodafone, we will initially test and refine our proposed KPIs and methods of scoring gratitude and evaluate them against our key criteria of ease, quantifiablilty and user uptake. We will trial lo-fi prototypes to evaluate the flow of the scoring method between users within a small team, gather feedback and refine. We can then evaluate and refine our methods of linking this quantifiable method into how this affects the intangible benefits of Gratitude to the business. The final stage will then be to work within the Chapter and with our partner to develop the system into a finalised product that can be scaled up.

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

As with many implementations of this nature, the major obstacles to the implementation of this idea will be management buy-in and cultural adversity to change. We hope that by beginning and refining the idea within a small team, we will be able to gain immediate feedback on all aspects of this from end-users, which will allow us to rapidly iterate on the solution to ensure that the users trialling this will feel they are part of the process and therefore, be more receptive to change.

How will you test and prototype your solution?

Please see our previous response to "How you envision the Idea being introduced to your selected organization?"

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

For our next steps for implementation, please see our previous response to "How you envision the Idea being introduced to your selected organization?" Working with the Greater Good Science Centre, we hope to be able to tap into the combined knowledge and previous research on the topics of gratitude and how this influences intangible business benefits and use this opportunity to work with them on the development and refinement of our gratitude KPIs.

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.
  • Prototyping: You have conducted some small tests or experiments with prospective users and will continue developing idea through these tests.

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

The idea emerged through a number of design thinking workshops facilitated and run by the Gratitude Challenge team of the OpenIDEO London Chapter. We firstly ran a meeting to discuss the problem and our research on the topic, before running a series of workshops to further define the problem and then ideate on potential solutions - once we’d come up with a number of solutions, we reached out to the rest of the Chapter to gain feedback on which of our conceptual solutions to refine and submit.

Tell us about yourself

OpenIDEO London Chapter team: Flick Hardingham, challenge lead, ideation Chris Keene, storytelling, design Diego Groiso, business consultant (Vodafone partner) Cristian Nica, research Olesya Myakonkaya, project manage and ideation Rob Thompson, Daniel Tuitt, Nelly Trakidou, Rintu Alex: research, prototype and test Bea Tartsanyi, project management and define Ben Luff, define

Where are you / your team located?

London, England

Please describe your legal and organizational structure

OpenIDEO London Chapter in partnership with Vodafone.

Company / Organization Name

OpenIDEO London Chapter in partnership with Vodafone.


OpenIDEO London Chapter page: OpenIDEO London Chapter Facebook page:

Tell us about your experience

We are a mix of talents, ranging from HR and community to service design and research. Flick is founder of Habit, helping companies supercharge their people power through employee experience. Cristian, is a chartered clinical psychologist, has conducted research in flow, wellbeing and organisational coaching, Chris is a management consultant. Rob holds an MBA focussed on Design, Innovation & Entrepreneurship from Imperial College London. Diego is a business consultant and tech enthusiast.

Please describe, in detail, how you will test and get feedback on your concept.

Gratitude needs to be expressed spontaneously therefore it needs to be measured and imbedded in the normal flow of any organisation. We assessed initial perceptions of gratitude and their applicability to the workplace environment, captured the psychological facets of gratitude, and translated them into measurable actions. (Appendix A. Gratitude Challenge Refinement Process). We found that an integrative approach across organisational levels needs to be captured using a KPI-related approach. We aimed to map gratitude across the organisation. and crafted our prototype using the action perception questionnaire (Appendix B and C), this way features support relevant organisational actions that can promote the positive experience and prevent disappointment, distrust or disengagement. Feedback is also built into the Interlocked Solution Flow (Appendix D) and User Journey (Appendix E)

Please describe specifically how you plan to scale your idea. What are the key next steps you will take, and how will those steps inform the evolution and growth of your concept?

We plan to develop a platform for organisational engagement where gratitude can become second nature alongside other psychological factors for improving life quality and help make every organisation a great place to work.   Youcef Ramdane, Vodafone’s Head of Enterprise Digital Transformation, will support our pilot study in his department, aiming to make the solution available for other departments to improve its usability at a macro level. In terms of business development, we intend to take the following actions: - Run a crowdfunding campaign for supporting the development of our solution. - Approach other people-orientated corporates and NGOs who would pay to use the platform. - Offer platform to social enterprises at cost. - Run in-house workshops on gratitude at work and best practice. - Use worldwide gratitude database to identify which are key predictors of authentic gratitude. - Create a worldwide database to enable blind cross org analysis of Business related metrics See Appendix F. Lean Business Canvas’ for further detail.

As we have seen in the Challenge, there is a tension between authentic expressions of gratitude and mandatory gratitude. How does your idea inspire truly authentic expressions of gratitude versus mandated ones?

We map the gratitude experience and empower key organisational actors to design the gratitude experience feedback around spontaneous workflow so that organisations can review the vulnerable points that promote or interfere with authentic gratitude. Knowing that culture can be enhanced through subtle cues, we transformed feedback into emotionally-relevant testimonials when authentic thoughts are spread randomly and anonymously across key communication channels. See Appendix G wireframes.

Gratitude often thrives when opportunities for connection are created. How will your concept create new opportunities for human connection?

- The platform will build connection by prompting employees to consider interactions with their colleagues and the state of gratitude in their workplace. - Insight and team building activities will prompt cross-functional, cross-level interaction. - Community voting on Gratitude Activities will foster engagement and real connection on and offline. - Employees feel heard and valued as the company empowers and supports them to drive authentic expressions of gratitude.

Who (specifically) will benefit from your concept, and how they will interact with it? What design considerations have you included to ensure easy and intuitive interactions? 

All employees! By creating an online mechanism for embedding gratitude in organisational procedures, we hope to impact all parts of a business and allow people to experience, and provide, thanks to everyone they interact with every day. Deep analytics will allow the organisation to track and measure the impact of gratitude on employee engagement and productivity. Appendix E User Journey and Appendix G Wireframe demonstrates responsive and simple user interaction.

Please describe how you intend to use the prize funding, if selected as a Top Idea. Be specific.

In the first year, we aim to invest in a highly scalable product, by engaging in iterative web development, prototyping sessions, psychometric research and development and customer research so that we may launch a crowdfunding campaign around the business case attached. See Appendix F. Lean Business Canvas for further detail.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Rintu Alex

Among the ideas, I think this is a great framework, especially because it looks at the root of the gratitude problem in corporate culture and office spaces.

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