Founder @ Healthy Startups
The time has come for me to place this blog on hold, to put it into deep freeze, permanently.
I am proud of all the blog has achieved and I thank you all for your support.
Thank you to all the innovators.
Thank you to the blog's sponsors and supporters - especially to Josh Krammes and the SoftLayer Catalyst Program. Thank you to HealthXL for everything.
Thank you to the readers, the retweeters, the Likers...
Thank you for everything,
Head of Growth, Addapp
Today millions of us track our steps, sleep, nutrition and much more. The problem is that the data generated from this tracking only tells half of the story.
You can easily see how many steps you've taken; how many calories you’ve burned or how well you’ve slept. What’s not so easy is understanding the relationship between all of these metrics.
We wanted to make that easier.
Turning quantified self into quantified sense
Addapp connects with a number of apps and produces personalized well-being insights based on the data you are already producing about your life.
Get personalized health insights from Addapp
Here’s how Addapp works: You connect the health and fitness apps you’re already using, Addapp analyses your data and then picks out relevant, hand-made insights (really! a human creates each one!) based on your own personal data.
From quantified noise to quantified clarity
We’re constantly surrounded by data, especially if you use more than one app to track your daily activity. Instead of adding to this infinite stream of numbers and data, Addapp offers only the best possible insights, one at a time.
We believe that you should strive to improve your well-being bit by bit, through small, and sometimes subtle, lifestyle changes. That’s why we’ve taken this approach, to make our insights easily digestible and allow you to focus on just one or two learnings each day.
The Addapp app for iOS is now available for free from the App Store.
Founder, Promise or Pay
How are those New Year’s resolutions going? Are you still meditating every day? Did you lose that extra holiday weight? Are you still biting your fingernails? Did you finish that book you were reading? Have you enrolled in that language class?
Despite our best intentions it can be difficult to stay motivated to make positive personal changes. One study followed 3,000 resolution makers and found only 12% actually managed to follow through with their plans. Another study found that 35% of us who make New Year's resolutions break them by the end of January .
Promise or Pay is focused on behavioural economics
Promise or Pay is a new social motivation platform based on behavioural economics, which suggests that the chance of achieving a goal increases 33% if it is shared with others and by 72% if money is put on the line. Promise or Pay combines these two approaches to help you stick to your goals by donating money to charity if you don’t follow through, and by encouraging others to get on board and donate if you succeed.
Promise or Pay motivates people to do the things they most want to do with their lives, while creating a more engaging, personal and empowering way for individuals to donate to charities that make a better world. The first of its kind in Australia, Promise or Pay ensures a win-win outcome is always achieved and people are left feeling good no matter the outcome. To get a better sense of the concept please visit the website
Spending billions on self-improvement
Australians will spend $6.6 billion on self-improvement in 2014 and $371 million on health and well-being programs. At the same time, Australians are giving more to charity than ever before with the average annual donation amount hitting a record high in 2014, with online giving growing by 14% in 2013. Promise or Pay bridges both these markets and targets Australian Millennials (18-35 years) that are dedicated to self-improvement, active on social media and interested in nonprofits, volunteerism, and social issues.
By traversing the self-improvement and fund raising markets, Promise or Pay addresses two important social issues. It helps raise much-needed funds for charities and their worthy causes in a new and novel way, while simultaneously promoting personal wellbeing and a positive attitude to life which in turn leads to a healthier and happier Australian society.
For individuals, achieving personal goals is difficult - whether it is to quit smoking, lose weight, eat healthier, or exercise more - we often get sidetracked, lack motivation or slip back into routine. Promise or Pay harnesses the power of promises to promote healthy lifestyle habits. It appeals to the human instinct to set goals, to have dreams and to make resolutions. It speaks to a generation of Australians that have grown up in a world where social issues are impossible to ignore and are looking for a way to make a difference. It is the only motivation platform in Australia that integrates charitable giving and therefore ensures a win-win outcome and guaranteed social impact.
A unique tool to take on donor fatigue
For charities, donor fatigue has been on the rise in the recent years as people become tired with constant requests for donations and, as a result, lose interest in giving monetary contributions. For Australian charities, Promise or Pay offers a new and novel fundraising solution that is fast and effective, and that will dramatically expand their donor base using minimal resources.
We believe that one promise can make a huge difference. Our vision is to use personal promises to drive real, wide-scale social change. We are working hard to use the nexus of mobile technology, online payments and behavioural science to inspire millions of Australians to be the best they can be and, at the same time, encourage and facilitate millions of dollars in donations to Australian charities.
So whether you’ve already slipped up or not yet made your New Year’s resolution official, why not take a moment to think about what you want to start, stop, change or do in 2015. Then, when you’re ready, make a promise and make good on your goal.
One promise can make a huge difference. What will your promise be?
 Quirkology. 2007. New Year’s Resolution Experiment. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.quirkology.com/UK/Experiment_ resolution.shtml
 FranklinCovey. 2008. FranklinCovey Survey Reveals Top 3 New Year's Resolutions for 2008: Eliminate Debt, Lose Weight, Develop Healthy Habits. [ONLINE] Available at: http://investor.franklincovey.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=102601&p=irol-newsArticle_print&ID=1088259&highlight=
 Matthews, Gail, PhD. (2014). Goals Summary Research. [ONLINE] Available at: http://dominican.edu/academics/ahss/undergraduate-programs-1/psych/faculty/fulltime/gailmatthews/researchsummary2.pdf
 Ayres, I. (2010). Carrots and sticks: Unlock the power of incentives to get things done. New York: Bantam Books.
 Oliver, M. (2013). Australians spend big in weight-loss industry: $6.6 billion forecast as Australians battle the bulge. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.smartcompany.com.au/growth/economy/34381-australians-spend-big-in-weight-loss-industry-6-6-billion-forecast-as-australians-battle-the-bulge.html
 Smerdon, X. (2014). Aussies giving more than ever to charity. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.probonoaustralia.com.au/news/2014/11/aussies-giving-more-ever-charity
 Pro Bono Australia. (2014). Online fundraising up - NFP benchmark study. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.probonoaustralia.com.au/news/2014/04/online-fundraising-nfp-benchmark-study
CEO, Co-Founder @ AprilAge
It's becoming increasingly well accepted that technology can change behavior. One of the most widespread examples is the addition of cameras into smartphones. Who even thought they needed a camera in their phone before they first became available about 15 years ago?
However, mass adoption of smartphones with digital cameras has meant that, today, seeing someone (or yourself) taking “selfies”, or snapping pictures of friends and family at any occasion is widely accepted. What’s more, the sharing of these images via social media has become an immensely popular method of communication and fuels a repeat cycle of even greater photo collection and distribution.
What has this got to do with healthcare?
Combine this shift and acceptance of new consumer technology with what's going on in healthcare. Consumers and patients want information that is personal and relevant. Health and wellness providers want greater engagement and participation in programs that help people prevent chronic diseases, rather than treat them after they’ve developed - which accounts for approximately 75% ($US2 trillion) of all healthcare spending in the USA.
According to PwC's Health Research Institute (HRI) in the New Health Economy, digitally-enabled care is no longer a nice-to-have, but rather a fundamental business imperative. Industry leaders across health plans, hospitals and the pharmaceutical industry all see major shifts in how care is being delivered.
Digital technology bridges time, distance and the expectation gap between consumers and clinicians. The HRI surveyed 1,000 physicians and physician "extenders" (e.g., nurse practitioners and physician's assistants) and found that caregivers share similar views with consumers on the promise of digital technology to promote self-management of chronic disease using health apps: in 2014, 28% percent of consumers said they have a healthcare, wellness, or medical app on their mobile device, up from 16% the previous year. Roughly two-thirds of physicians said they would be willing to prescribe an app to help patients manage a chronic disease such as diabetes.
Building behaviour change on top of visualization
AprilAge shows me what I might look like at age 72 if I don't improve my diet and
if I don't increase my physical activity
A large body of well-documented research indicates that visual cues help us to better retrieve and remember information. The human vision system is a complex and powerful part of our bodies, and we use it and rely on it in almost everything we do. Visualization (the act or process of interpreting in visual terms or putting into visual form) engages the primary human sensory apparatus, vision, as well as the processing power of the human mind.
At AprilAge, we use the power of visualization to “show” vs. “tell.” The APRIL® Face Aging Software was developed to show people the effects of risky lifestyle behaviours (smoking, weight gain, heavy sun exposure) on their appearance as they age. Unlike simple morphing technology or an artist’s rendition, the APRIL® face aging results are based a proprietary database of how real people age. Helping people visualize their “future face” can be the dose of reality that is often just the catalyst that’s required to set someone on a path to a healthier future.
AprilAge around the world
APRIL® is now used by health practitioners, wellness providers, and employers in more than 25 countries to inspire people to healthier lifestyle behaviors. As a digital tool first conceived of for an exhibit in a science center, it is now also installed in more than 30 science centers around the world as these traditional places of science exploration are broadening their scope to include health issues that affect us all:
- At The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, walking through the Giant Heart has been a rite of passage for children and families. Visitors gain new insights into the anatomy and physiology of the human body through interactive exhibits that emphasize the importance of exercise, healthy diet, and maintaining a balanced lifestyle.
- In Germany, Pfizer uses the APRIL® Face Aging Software in meetings with healthcare providers to impactfully demonstrate the visible effects of smoking on their appearance. By personalizing the face aging process for the provider, Pfizer helps them relate to their patients' experience and talk to them about how to quit smoking.
- In Canada, as part of the Nivea Haus pop up experience, Bieresdorf created a "The Age Simulator" with the APRIL® Face Aging Software. A main attraction in this busy retail environment, consumers were given the opportunity to see the effects of risky lifestyle factors on their own faces and discus the steps to prevent such damage.
- In the USA, a health provider and insurance company have teamed up to pilot the use of APRIL® on mobile tablets in a shopping mall to help consumers visualize the effects of bad lifestyle choices, and to offer them information on health and wellness programs available in the mall.
Can the future you drive behaviour change today?
But does seeing yourself in the future inspire lasting behavior change when needed? According to a randomized controlled study conducted by researchers from Curtin University within Australian pharmacies, and published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, researchers using the APRIL® Face Aging software found that 13.8% of the study’s participants quit smoking after engaging in the face aging visualization process, well above 1.3% in the control group that wasn’t exposed to face aging visualization. Results were verified by CO2 testing six months post-study.
Why does visualization work? According to a study from Sheffield University’s Department of Psychology, researchers found that the impact of perspective in visualizing health-related behaviors from first-person perspective has a greater effects on motivation to engage in visualized behavior than third-person perspective.* In other words, successfully visualizing yourself completing a behaviour was more likely to lead to actually doing it. In the field of health promotion, visualization has been used to motivate exercise, reduce alcohol consumption, and increase healthy eating.
Today, visualization helps people do things and perform in ways that a few years ago would have been thought impossible. Imagine what visualization could achieve tomorrow...
*The impact of perspective in visualizing health-related behaviors: first-person perspective increases motivation to adopt health-related behaviors, Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Rennie, Harris and Webb, Dept. of Psychology, Sheffield University, May 2014