Project: Bloom transformed our office so that it felt more like play instead of work. We had a Game Club that met regularly at lunch in a conference room. We brought our lunches, and played cards and other games. I remember sitting with the Director of Training and several other people playing the game Operation. We each took turns using oversized tweezers to remove small plastic bones and organs buried in the game board. If you touched the edges of the board while removing a body part, the game board buzzed and you lost your turn. It was a silly child’s game, but there we were, a group of adults from various departments, who before Project: Bloom never socialized. We were laughing so hard I almost spewed milk out my nose.
Probably the most popular activities coordinated by the Project: Bloom Appreciation committee were the Bloom Certificates and Bloom Days. We assigned points for most Project: Bloom activities. The recognitions were the only thing for which we didn’t award points, because we wanted the acknowledgements from coworkers to be genuine, and not inspired by points. The Bloom Banker was a member of the Appreciation committee, who kept the point totals in an Excel spreadsheet. When someone earned 100 points, the Bloom Banker would create a certificate and sign it. It was then hand delivered to the recipient. 200 points were required for a full day off. The limit was one extra vacation day every six months.
To take a Bloom Day, you scheduled it with your manager and gave your manger the certificate. The manager then signed it to acknowledge that it had been used and gave the certificate back. Even though most people used their certificates as soon as they received them, many kept the certificates pinned to their bulletin boards like other awards they had received.
By the end of our first year, forty-seven people had earned a total of 12,840 points and earned ninety-nine half-day Bloom Certificates.