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Our True Meaning of Gratitude

The real problem of gratitude in the workplace starts at how each and every member of a workplace finds true meaning in gratitude.

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People oftentimes have trouble really meaning their words when saying "thank you". As I have researched online, people in many cultures, such as in Spain, do not appreciate when tourists overuse the phrase “thank you” or ”gracias.” So the objective is for members to, first, find true meaning in their gratitude and, second, understand what gratitude means to other people. In order to accomplish this, I propose the idea of putting up some type of electronic board such as a smart board and having members of the workplace post answers to two questions every time they post. 1) “I am thankful for (blank) because (blank)” and 2) “This week, I am proud that I (blank)”. Although the second thought may seem self-centered or egotistical, it is a small reflection to appreciate oneself and it can aid in showing others what workers want to be thanked for. This wall should not be used to bring others down when writing what people are proud about themselves, but instead, ideas should be more general since gratitude in the workplace needs to start small in order to maintain it. Because people have different meanings for gratitude, having workers post on this wall at least once a week can enlighten them of one other’s meanings of gratitude.

Idea Title

"Grate to be Grateful" Board

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

When people express their unappreciated acts, they will feel more appreciated. This increase in self (and non-self) appreciation will lead others to express their gratitude to others more and actually mean it. This idea will also inspire the members in an organization to take agency over what and who they are thankful for.

Who are you innovating for?

Everyone in the organization who participates and actually cares about this sensitive subject will benefit from this idea! Those who do not participate may not be as impacted by the board. However, when others show the positive effects of this board, this will inspire those who are less active to become more involved with the idea.

What type of workplaces are you innovating for?

This idea can work in any organization. However, it is more suited for larger organizations due to the cost of the electronic board. However, it can be modified so that it is a paper bulletin board where people write on post-its to express gratitude. The idea, though, is more suited for larger organizations because it is harder to find time for everyone to meet face-to-face at the same time.

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

It simply needs to be brought up in an employee meeting or a representative/facilitator should propose the idea, explaining that the lack of gratitude in the workplace is a real problem. The company just needs to agree on spending the right amount of money to implement this idea.

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

The largest obstacle is the cost of the electronic board. However, if that is overcome from the company, the second largest obstacle would be the cooperation of the workers. In order to have the workers cooperate, it is important to have a meeting where people share the value in changing workplace dynamic so that more gratitude is expressed and workers are feeling more appreciated.

How will you test and prototype your solution?

The key prototyping or trials we would have to perform is at a workplace! Since the idea is costly, the prototype may need to be a paper bulletin board of post-its. That way, the trials can take place at smaller organizations as well such as a dental office, research lab, coffee shop, and etc.

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

I would first talk to my workplace/organization that I would like to implement this idea at. Then, I would build the bulletin board, facilitate a faculty meeting, and encourage people to cooperate! At the end, I would most likely prepare a short survey for the workers to complete for feedback on the idea.

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

This idea emerged from a university psychology class focused on creativity. Students were all brainstorming together, but also discovered solutions and ideas individually.

Tell us about yourself

I am a psychology student at the University of Michigan.

Where are you / your team located?

Ann Arbor, MI.

Tell us about your experience

I have not worked in the gratitude field, so it was a very new and interesting experience for me. It definitely challenged and fostered my creativity.

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