I recently read report by Accenture Interactive, called “Turbulence for the CMO,” that I found very interesting. The report says that CMOs know they must fully embrace new technology. If not, they will fail. That seems to be clear and not just for marketing, but the study also points out that digital is a marketer’s biggest weakness. That is a tough place to be as digital technology is only going to accelerate.
Let’s break down the report:
CMOs capitalize on five capabilities to improve their company’s performance: offering innovation, customer analytics, digital orientation, customer engagement and marketing operations. Of these digital orientation has the greatest performance gap – ironically when this capability is of upmost importance. While most CMOs recognize that an enterprise digital focus is needed along with the ability to engage customers through digital channels, only 7% say their digital enterprise efforts and only 13% believe their channel engagement performance are leading edge.
Their biggest barriers are inefficient business practices and lack of funding, which results from an unclear digital strategy across the enterprise and tight budgets. Underlying all of this is the explosion of channels in which customers engage. This channel explosion has forced CMOs to turn to a large mix of agencies and alliance partners to help them. In fact, between 45% and 75% of marketing activities are managed by digital agencies, specialized agencies and marketing service providers. What really hurts the CMO is that there is no clear strategic leader among the external partners, forcing CMOs to default to inefficient internal process to create the coos-agency strategy.
So what is a CMO to do? First, fundamentally change the marketing operating model to improve innovation and become more digitally focused. Second, build new skills internally to improve efficiency, agility and responsiveness. Third, align with the right set of partners that work collaboratively to help the CMO make sense of the complexity of the marketplace by “improving their levels of execution and delivery and by providing a broader set of capabilities and deeper integration across the agency ecosystem.” And fourth, take the lead in driving digital orientation throughout the enterprise.
The report ends with a statement: “Digital is the marketing game changer.”
That is something we all should embrace.(Read full post)
The goal of game mechanics and game dynamics is to drive a user-desired behavior predictably. The same ideas apply to human health behavior and the application of behavioral models and frameworks in health intervention design. This requires an understanding of how humans behave. This is where all those behavior models come into play.
There are many such models and frameworks, each useful in specific contexts. A model/framework is chosen based on whether it can give us the understanding we need to address the particular problem. Specifically to game dynamics and game mechanics, we can use the multi-factor model behavior model by J. Fogg of Stanford University known as Fogg’s behavior model (FBM). FBM asserts that there are three required factors that underlie any human behavior:
- Motivation (the want or desire to do something )
- Ability (the necessary resources)
- Trigger (the ‘spark,’ ‘signal,’ or ‘facilitator’)
According to FBM, these factors must converge at the same time to successfully drive a behavior. Any temporal misalignment in these three factors will degrade effectiveness. FBM also asserts that for the target behavior to happen, users usually require a minimum level of ability and motivation called the activation threshold for the behavior. When the trigger (something that prompts or tells the users to carry out the target behavior now) is introduced at the right time (above the activation threshold), the user is lead to the inception of the predictable behavior.
Of course, more than one behavior model or framework can be applied to a health intervention. For example, we can leverage the Power Law of Practice into a task-based intervention. The Power Law of Practice states that people make fewer errors and are faster with the more time they spend doing the task. About 80% of improvement along the power function comes from figuring out a good strategy for getting the task done, while about 20% of improvement comes from getting better at the same strategy.
There is good evidence that the steep part of the power function is actually composed of a combination of step functions where each step is a learning event – where one acquires new knowledge or develops a better model for how the system works. An intervention designer needs to understand what learning events occur so that individuals don’t get stuck and stop using the technology or some of its features.
From a motivation perspective, we can utilize a model by Daniel Pink. Pink hypothesizes that in the modern society where the lower levels of the Maslow’s hierarchy are more or less satisfied, people become more and more motivated by other intrinsic motivators, specifically: autonomy, mastery and purpose. From a game dynamics perspective, purpose is satisfied by quests, discovery, epic meaning; mastery is satisfied by points, progression and levels.
As you can see, when the appropriate behavior models and frameworks are applied a health intervention, behavior change can occur in a more effective and predictable manner.(Read full post)
Every once in a while we see how science and technology can affect even the most seemingly small aspects of our lives. One of those is the vexing issue of getting all the ketchup out of the bottle – what could be better than getting that last drop onto our fries or burger? Waste not, want not.
Well some very smart people have come to our rescue. Dave Smith, a PhD candidate at MIT, and a team of mechanical engineers and nano-technologists have invented a marvelous new product called LiquiGlide. This non-toxic coating is applied to the interior of a bottle. LiquiGlide is extremely slippery, and enables ketchup or any other condiment to easily flow out of a bottle that is coated with it.
LiquiGlide is a structured liquid meaning it is rigid like a solid but lubricated like a liquid. These properties make it applicable to many types of packaging (e.g., glass, plastic). LiquiGlide can be applied in various ways, such as spraying it inside bottles. One of the hardest challenges the team had to overcome was making it food safe. This meant that LiquiGlide had to meet FDA approval, which limited the materials that they were able to use.
Given that the condiment industry is roughly $17 billion a year, this is huge. Dave Smith estimates that LiquiGlide could save 1 million tons of food waste a year. Condiments are not the only goal for Smith and his team. They are interested in using this technology with similar properties for anti-icing or for preventing clogs that form in oil and gas lines. They are even considering applications like keeping rain off of windshields as problems that the technology could help solve.
Smith’s and his teams’ efforts placed them second out of 215 teams in the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition and won the audience choice award.
Watch the video below and see LiquiGlide in action. The first segment shows ketchup in a regular bottle and the second segment shows ketchup in a bottle coated with LiquiGlide.
(Read full post)
We are biologically wired to react to stimuli in the world around us because of the evolutionary importance of rapidly detecting dangers and potential rewards. How we react to stimuli has been shown to be influenced by distance. In other words, the type of stimulus and its distance from us impacts its relevance to us. For example, a close threat is something to which we all react emotionally because we sense danger. We react in a similar way to images of larger sizes, meaning we interpret a picture’s size to be the proximity of the object in reality.
However, words are another matter…
Words are abstract and symbolic – not an image of reality. Rationally, we would not expect the size of a word to make a difference to us emotionally because a word is not a depiction of reality and requires higher order processing for us to interpret its meaning.
But even for words, size does matter…
A recent study, led by Mareike Bayer of the Humboldt University of Berlin in Germany, shows that both positive and negative words that are printed in larger fonts promotes a stronger emotional brain response than the same words in smaller fonts. What the researchers found was that the bigger the text, the faster someone responded emotionally to the word. Also, their emotional response lasted longer. The researchers proved this by monitoring the brain activity with electroencephalograph (EEG) recordings in volunteers as they looked at different positive, negative and neutral words in a variety of font sizes. The net-net is that emotional meaning is boosted when emotionally charged words are presented in large fonts.
Large fonts are used in headlines all the time, suggesting that we intuitively understand that words presented in bigger type captures our readers’ attention. Through this study, we now know that words in larger sizes also trigger a stronger emotional response. This means in the broad sense that behavior pursues emotion (people learn to anticipate what actions lead to what emotions), we can influence our readers’ behavior (decision and action control processes) not only by our choice of words but their size as well.(Read full post)
Data inundates us every day, but most data is hard to consume as it is hard to see how it relates to our human side. Jer Thorp provides us an awesome visual tour (watch the video below) of how data can be better visualized to make sense to us. This is the space that intersects art, science and design – the magic place for innovation and inspiration. Jer’s visualizations are exciting because they are graphically vivid while bringing real clarity and human meaning to the data. Jer has made much of his source code freely available.
In conjunction with Mark Hansen, Jer worked on a project dealing with content sharing on the Internet called Cascade. They created an exploratory tool that shows the sharing structures of the Internet. In essence, Cascade creates histories or stories of how information moves from person to person – how we connect. In another example project, called openpaths, Jer uses location data (human mobility data) from iPhones (strictly voluntary) to show how people’s lives are unfolding from the traces left behind on their devices. Jer shares parts of his own life using the tool. He demonstrates that by seeing our data in our life context, we develop empathy and fundamental respect for the other people involved in these systems.
Another example of humanized data visualization comes from Jonathan Harris who has a site that has been online since 2005, called We Feel Fine. The site captures human feelings from the Web. It searches blogs for key words relating to feelings and identifies the feeling (e.g. sad, happy, depressed). It also captures demographic data about the author. The interface shows feelings as particles. The particles’ properties (e.g., color, size, shape, opacity) indicate the nature of the feeling, and any particle can be clicked to reveal the full sentence or photograph it contains. The feelings can be searched and sorted, expressing various pictures of human emotion.
As this relates to healthcare, informatics comes to mind. It would be a really humanizing experience if I could see my health information in a rich but easy to understand and meaningful format. How I see myself (from a data visualization perspective) will have tremendous impact on how I deal with my healthcare. Coupling my personal health information with my life story and how I interconnect with people is an exciting concept. In this age of information overload, how we join our human experiences (our stories) to our data will be the extent to which we can understand the complexity of ourselves and our world.(Read full post)
If you know me, you’ve heard me talk about DiabetesSisters. It’s a thriving organization serving women with diabetes. DiabetesSisters was founded in 2008 by Brandy Barnes, who wanted to create a place for women with diabetes to come together and talk, support each other, and live well with the disease.
DiabetesSisters has grown from a small online group to an international community of more than 10,000 women from countries across the world. Every time I meet with Brandy, I am just in awe of all she has accomplished and am so glad I am a part of her organization.
While Brandy has events running year long, with the New Year comes the 3rd annual overnight Weekend for Women conference in Raleigh, NC. Part of her weekend includes the orange:will Diabetes Awareness Walk, taking place on May 20, 2012. It’s a free, one mile walk with the goals of creating greater awareness of diabetes and supporting all women living with the disease, regardless of type. And, you don’t have to be a woman to walk! All people are welcome. There are also great prizes (like an iPad, airline tickets, and designer sunglasses) for those who raise the most money.
MicroMass will be wearing orange on May 20th. We can’t wait to see you there.(Read full post)
The Pew Internet & American Life Project released a report in May of this year called “The Social Life of Health Information, 2011” that reviews findings from a survey that was conducted among 3,001 U.S. adults. One group highlighted is caregivers who provide unpaid care to loved ones with medical conditions, and the results are interesting.
Pew’s analysis shows that caregivers are “more likely than other adults to use social network sites to gather and share health information and support.” The report goes on to say that while social networking sites don’t serve as a primary source of health information for most people, these sites do serve the important role of helping people cope with disease. This is important because we know from decades of behavioral research that support and positive coping leads to improved health outcomes. While there are some great examples of online patient support programs that are geared towards connecting people living with the same disease and helping them more positively cope with it on a daily basis, the resources available for caregivers are not quite as easy to find.
Caregivers are often welcomed into communities of people living with a particular disease. But, it probably comes as no surprise that oftentimes, people caring for their loved ones experience a unique set of emotions and challenges, and will benefit most from the support and encouragement of other caregivers in similar situations (rather than patients dealing with the disease).
Caregiver.com is one example of the kind of support that caregivers need to maintain their emotional health as they serve in this very important role. The organization’s magazine, Today’s Caregiver, serves as a source of support, advice, and information specifically for caregivers. Questions about caregiving can be submitted via the website and a subscription to a free, online newsletter is available. The organization even provides recipes to help alleviate the stress of planning meals so caregivers can focus on the patients. For those who are looking for an in-person support group, caregiver.com provides a search tool to locate local support resources.
Support for patients is of course critical. But, we must not forget that caregivers also need support. They want to be there for their loved ones, but they can’t always do it on their own. They want to connect with other caregivers who are going through similar experiences, they want to share stories, and they want to learn how maintain their own health so they can provide the best possible care for patients.(Read full post)
This past weekend, I saw firsthand that orange certainly does empower women with diabetes.
Women living with diabetes face unique challenges, and Brandy Barnes founded DiabetesSisters with the purpose of supporting and advocating on behalf of all women living with the disease. Brandy’s vision for DiabetesSisters fed the development of orange:will, a nationwide campaign created by MicroMass and DiabetesSisters to establish orange as the official color of women with diabetes.
I believe Brandy is well on her way.
On May 1st, just two days ago, I participated in the first annual orange:will awareness walk in downtown Raleigh. I was joined by 25 of my friends from MicroMass and 75 courageous women with diabetes for a one mile awareness walk, culminating with an official proclamation by Mayor Charles Meeker that May 1st is “Orange Will Empower Women with Diabetes Day” in the city of Raleigh. He urged all citizens to show their support of women with diabetes and the fight against diabetes by wearing the color orange.
What an incredible day for DiabetesSisters all around the world! I’m so glad that I was able to share in the excitement.
As a technical person, I am trained to solve a problem in terms of current technologies. Many times I feel as if I am doing something wrong or are at least missing something if the solution does not involve the bleeding edge. And sometimes I feels like the problem that is being solved is nothing more than better technology for its own sake.
When I saw the Ted Talks video by George Whitesides called “A lab the size of a postage stamp”, I simply assumed it must be a micro-something operating at some astronomically small level. I instantly thought of the movie Fantastic Voyage.
That was NOT the case…
I was absolutely amazed at the simplicity of the solution. This lab on a postage stamp had no microchips. In fact, there was no electricity involved. These “postage-stamp labs” are a simple chemical-based test strip (actually square), but in layers that can be created with a color printer. After the test is conducted, a field tech can read the results on the spot or can take a picture and upload it to a central location for more critical diagnoses.
This is truly “mobile” health care – cheap, available triage in the field. With this kind of “technology” many third world nations’ health care issues can be addressed.
Sometimes simplicity is the best answer.
PS: If you watch the video all the way through you will get the best definition of simplicity there is.(Read full post)
Touch technology is awesome, especially for cell phones! Physical interfaces, in general, are how we should interact with our electronic devices, just ask any Wii owner (remember the Power Glove?). What may be coming is next is even better.
Consider these three attributes…
- Vital signs
Now, consider these questions…
- What if your phone could shift its weight in your hand?
It could tell you a lot and you would not even have to look at it. Mass (weight) redistribution could be used to augment digital content by having you feel where the content is. One example would be in a navigation scenario where your phone would shift its weight (right or left) to help guide you to your destination.
- What if your phone could become thicker on one side versus the other?
Aside from the practical built-in stand functionality you could use to watch a video, the thickness of a phone (in total or one side over the other) could be used to augment digital content by having you feel how much content there is (quantity). When you download Marienbad My Love with 17 million words or Slaughterhouse-Five at a slim 49.5K words, you would know how much content was there. Or, if you are panning an image, the thicker side would contain the greater part of the image.
- What if your phone had a breathing rate or heartbeat?
This sounds like a virtual pet and it some ways it is. When you think about it, a virtual pet responds to calling and to touching; can be trained, you buy it stuff and dress it up (sounds like a phone to me); and it complains when it needs care. In this case, your phone could give you feedback to indicate digital content priority by a faster “heart beat”, like when your girlfriend or boyfriend sends you their picture.
“Humans should not get more technical; technology should get more human.”(Read full post)