Napkin Learning
Paper napkin (or paper towel or wipe) turned into motivator and resource for learning.



Disposable paper products like napkins, towels, wipes, etc are used daily by employees at work. Some companies have reduced their use of paper towels over the last decade, and brought in air hand dryers. But they are still using paper napkins in the cafeteria, as well as paper cups, etc.


Modern plant based inks make it easy to print custom messages on select batches of paper cup, napkin, wipe, etc, while maintaining product safety for humans. Especially with napkins, there is ample blank space to fit in some facts, quiz questions or appropriate nudges that motivate their users to seek learning and feel good about it.


Companies will nudge employees to learn new facts and dig deeper, by presenting information in easy, laid-back visually-interesting form that fits into a pocket and also serves its original purpose as a paper napkin, wipe, cup, etc. A stack of napkins in the cafeteria may contain a mix of blank napkins and different topic napkins. Thus, there is a refreshing randomness when a person finds a new nugget of learning. Learning content may also be projected on walls or ceilings, e.g. in the cafeteria

How would you stage or advertise your hack?

To make the knowledge particularly relevant to employees at the early phases of this intervention, the napkins may contain information about retirement, personal finance topics, investing, market reports, etc...i.e. the stuff that many people would not enjoy reading up on their computers or brochures otherwise. After launching an initial set of napkin learning topics, the company will encourage employees to suggest more topics, and the cycle shall go on. The napkin method is a simple, low-tech hack that works as an excellent gateway to culture change. Employees might learn for themselves, discuss the materials with others over a lunch table, etc... gradually building up their knowledge.

At a later point in the campaign, the role of informational napkins may be gradually (partly) relegated to other "blank canvases," such as ceilings and walls of common areas, cafeteria, restrooms, elevators, etc. The hack is to get a culture change, and not keep everyone in love with paper :-)