What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close

Can Nike Fuel a Mobile Health Revolution?

January 31, 2012, 8:58 PM
Nike-fuel-band

The mobile health revolution, which started and took off in overseas emerging markets, is rapidly making its way to the U.S. The past few months have brought a surge of new innovations - the FitBit Ultra, the Jawbone UP and now the Nike+ FuelBand, all of which attempt to combine fitness tracking and health awareness into an attractively-designed mobile product. In February, Nike will begin offering these FuelBand wristbands for $149 (they're already sold out on pre-order), with the idea being that not just weekend warriors, but also anyone concerned about their health, can track their progress towards certain goals in real-time.

The genius of Nike's new product launch is not just the ability to track data in real-time and convert this into a common, universal currency known as Fuel -- one number, one button, via a simple, intuitive interface. The real genius is in combining all this fitness-tracking data with a fun game layer to motivate people to achieve their goals. The motivational element is activated via a mobile app that enables you to share achievements and accomplishments with friends. Thanks to a built-in accelerometer, every action you take - from climbing the stairs to running around a track - can be converted into a single number. Fuel becomes a currency for comparing your activity with others, whether they are playing tennis, running, hiking or (as the Nike promo video would have us know) dancing like MC Hammer.

In fact, the “motivational hack” angle is arguably one of the biggest selling points of Nike+ FuelBand. Who knew health could be this much fun? Without a doubt, the shift in mindset brought out by devices like the FuelBand has immediate application for the future of the healthcare industry. John Nosta recently pointed out the link between all these fitness-tracking devices and better health and wellness:

“The application to health and wellness is significant and important! Direct monitoring of these activities can provide essential information to guide your individual wellness, but also can be a tool to track activity and sleep as a measure of drug or device efficacy--by a physician or a pharmaceutical company.  The clinical and lifestyle utility is endless.  And as technology advances, the use of small and unobtrusive devices to record blood pressure and blood chemistries (like serum glucose), ECGs and EEGs, respiration and a host of other yet discovered uses will make devices like the UP a breakthrough in health and fittness that will help redefine how well we take care of ourselves!"

In the future, the Nike+ FuelBand could even become a tool for the primary care physician: "You will download (or drop off) your "digital health diary" to the doctor's office and have the stored information be the basis for your "virtual physicial".  You don't need be there -- just leave the data."

Critics, of course, are fair to point out that the Jawbone UP has had its share of problems after it hit the U.S. market. Moreover, there has now been enough hype and buzz about the gamification of everything that it’s fair to ask: How much of all these game mechanics in products like Nike+ FuelBand are just a case of "gamewashing"? After all, who really wants to compare a bunch of flashing neon lights on their wristband all day? Don't we have enough "virtual currencies" in our lives already to be worrying about something called Fuel?

However, revolutions start with the ability to take complex concepts and make them palatable and attractive for the masses. Ideas such as the "Quantifiable Self" have been around for years. The ideas of "motivational hacks" and "gamification" have also been around for years. Most start-ups have focused on one or the other, but not both. What was needed was a champion to make these concepts real for people in the mainstream. Nike, as one of the most beloved consumer brands in the world, has the ability to turn the Nike+ FuelBand into part of a frontal attack on the modern healthcare establishment. Nike Fuel may just end up becoming a new mobile health platform that transforms "lifestyle tracking" into "lifestyle changing."

 

image: Nike+ FuelBand

 

Can Nike Fuel a Mobile Heal...

Newsletter: Share: