An illustration shows a huge wooden horse on a cart as a gift while a soldier stands nearby.

Surprise!The unanticipated delight of the unexpected

When a title is ‘Surprise!’, one tends to feel a burden of responsibility — an obligation, really — to make at least a half-hearted effort to demonstrate the point. Something unexpected. Something unique. Something that breaks the structure, bursts from the page and wrenches your wandering eyes and minds right back to giving us your undivided attention.

Surely, though, such trickery and gimmicks would’ve been (at least subconsciously) expected, and therefore not very surprising at all. An insult to your intelligence, even. So we settled for what we hope you’ll find a slightly ironic, yet understatedly poignant exclamation mark.


In a time when we Google away the unexpected by thoroughly investigating every potential purchase or experience, surprises are becoming far too infrequent. Which is unfortunate, really. Because surprise captures our attention, piques our curiosity, motivates us to learn, keeps us engaged and creates memories that are more easily recalled.

When designing employee experiences, we often use a driving emotions activity to help project leads identify how they want people to feel as the experience unfolds. One of the emotions we often discuss is surprise. And, it’s no surprise that when working ...

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