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Use a wellness program and creative expression to elevate gratitude in the workplace and beyond.

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The Jar-O-Goodness provides a creative, authentic medium to express gratitude while a monthly drawing for wellness-based rewards incentivizes participation and a broad-based wellness program reinforces positive behaviors that generate positive emotions. 

The Jar-O-Goodness serves as a visual reminder to be grateful and is a receptacle, placed in a break-room or other conspicuous location, for the completed gratitude expressions.  A kit comes with the jar and contains art supplies such as markers, paints, clay, a Polaroid camera and paper cards. Employees can create a visual expression of gratitude such as a painting, photograph or photograph of a sculpture on the card.  Employees may choose to use language by writing on the cards or answering a prompt.  Prompts, based in positive psychology, could include the following examples:

“What is something nice that someone did for you or you did for someone else this week?”

“What is one beautiful thing that you’ve seen, felt, heard, tasted or smelled today?”

“One thing that I appreciate about….is….”

“One of my greatest strengths is….and I can use it to create….change.”

Employees are encouraged to submit a gratitude card in the jar as often as they like. The more cards they submit, the more they improve their chances for selection in a monthly drawing.  Every month management randomly chooses a card out of the jar.  The creator of the selected card gets a reward that supports their health and wellness.

Examples of rewards could include healthy lunch with the boss, a chair massage, selecting art for the office, a local food basket, or two hours paid leave to go outside and exercise.

Additionally, employees are encouraged to look through the Jar-O-Goodness submissions and select one favorite per month.  At the end of the year the team will make a piece of art using the favorite gratitude cards that can hang in a central location reminding them of their commitment to a healthy and happy workplace.

A broad-based wellness program provides context and scalability for positive action and emotion in the workplace as health and happiness are closely connected to feelings of gratitude. A wellness program should be tailored to the organization and could include both physical and programmatic strategies such as access to daylighting, ergonomic workstations, bike storage, gym memberships and nutritional coaching.  Health and wellness rating systems such as Fitwel could be employed or an “ala carte” program could be crafted using evidence-based strategies and research that are applicable to the organization.

Idea Title


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

The 3 components of the idea (create, incentivize, work healthier) create a positive feedback loop of health and gratitude. Linking creativity to gratitude by providing multiple ways (visual or linguistic) to contribute to the Jar-O-Goodness, allows for different learning/expression styles and may make people feel empowered and less vulnerable when they contribute. The act of creating also often involves a social aspect and can reveal dimensions of people that aren’t regularly seen in the office, cultivating deeper appreciation for who people really are.

Who are you innovating for?

Employees will benefit in three ways. Their health and wellness will be prioritized (by management and themselves), their creativity will be fostered and their overall quality of life will be improved. The incentives for participation are designed to encourage healthy habits and creative problem-solving. Management will benefit through reduced health care costs and absenteeism, increased productivity, enhanced recruitment and a better work environment.

What type of workplaces are you innovating for?

An ideal starting point would be small-medium sized organizations. I would like to see it launched in governmental, academic and corporate settings to see where it has the most traction and what kind of modifications would be needed for each organization type.

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

The Jar-O-Goodness would be a part of a larger wellness program. The program would be implemented, tracked and maintained by HR in partnership with facilities managers and leadership. The idea would be introduced using the frame of the benefits to the individual (employees/management). Depending on the size of the organization, management and HR might identify champions to help encourage participation and provide feedback. Potential external partners could include the CDC (evidence-based strategies), Center for Active Design (Fitwel rating system), and a software platform to engage and track participation.

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

Culture change and budget are the biggest obstacles to implementing the idea. Incentives, overt management support, celebrating success and effective champions would help change culture. If people were able to see the benefits in their lives outside of work I think this would also be transformative. The budget challenge could be addressed by quantifying the cost savings of employee productivity and retention and applying some of this savings to provide meaningful incentives.

How will you test and prototype your solution?

Find willing oranization(s), possibly with a wellness program already in place. Work with HR to determine which team/location/manager to work with to test the Jar-O-Goodness activity. Work with management to determine appropriate incentives. Create the Jar and creativity kit, including appropriate prompts for the organization. Identify appropriate metrics to understand what success looks like and how it will be tracked.

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

Key next steps include determining which elements of a wellness program are required to help create the positive feedback loop and what questions need to be asked about the use of creativity in fostering gratitude. Working with GGSC would be helpful in identifying a pilot organization, analyzing the key wellness components and the link between creativity and gratitude, as well as effective prompt questions. It would be an opportunity for me to work with an organization that I greatly admire!

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

This idea emerged from a community art project that I've designed for children and adults in my community. Jars-O-Goodness have been painted, filled with provocative questions and mindful quotes and placed around our community on trails and in public spaces. The kids (and myself) are asked to check on their Jars and see what kind of responses they've received.

Tell us about yourself

I am a sustainability consultant and project manager at Adapt Consulting with experience engaging diverse cultures and disciplines to realize sustainability initiatives and create positive change. I sit on the Durango Public Arts Commission and I study the art and science of happiness both indoors and outside where I play enthusiastically whenever possible!

Where are you / your team located?

I'm located in Durango Colorado, which is in the SW corner of Colorado, in the SW part of the U.S.

Please describe your legal and organizational structure

I am a consultant and sole proprietor.

Company / Organization Name

Adapt Consulting.


Tell us about your experience

I have extensive experience in the sustainability field working with building, corporate and community rating frameworks such as LEED, WELL, Living Building Challenge, and Corporate Social Responsibility. I have project management, facilitation, education, organizing and community artivism experience.

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Erin, We are in the final hours of the Gratitude in the Workplace Challenge Ideas Phase! We would love to have your idea included. The Ideas Phase closes on October 25th at 3:00 p.m. Pacific Time. To publish your post please select the "Publish" button at the top of your contribution. See you in the Challenge!