Social networks can be fun and good for you at the same time. Coinciding with the launch of MTV’s new mini docu-series on overweight teens trying to manage their health, frog launched Tempt’d. Tempt’d is a new application from frog to help people resist everyday temptations with the support of their online social networks.
It's easy to forget the commitments you shared with family and friends in the fading hours of 2010. That's the trick with New Year's resolutions: They rarely stick for very long. We can often chalk these failures up to faults in our hard-wiring; as scientists have shown, our best intentions rarely rule the day. But over the last 12 months I've been interested in looking at how social networks might tip the balance in your favor.
This week I had the pleasure to host Jan Chipchase, FuturePerfect, renowned Nokia research guru, at a frog and IxDA sponsored event in NY. I first met Jan at DUX in 2005 where he did a brilliant presentation on a research study around what people carry in their purse. His premise being that this is the ultimate value threshold that we should use to measure the success of a personal device like a mobile phone. What emerged were insights around how the phone could better integrate with the other things we carry (keys, wallet...). His talk was fun and fascinating. His style was very casual. what I didnt realize, and found out on wednesday, was that this project launched his research practice over at Nokia, establishing the value of his methods as an efficient way to inform product design decisions.
I had a chance to grab dinner with Jan after the talk and we reflected a bit on the trajectory of that practice. It was very clear to me from that early experience that his goal back then was to effect product design decisions at the feature level – to help Nokia understand how to create products that were stickier, better suited to our personal needs and emerging social behaviors. I am sure that is still an essential part of his work but he has come along way (in no small part due to his personal influence). He is now finding that his most meaningful collaborations are with strategy groups within Nokia. He has been invited into much larger conversations about new markets and product strategies. Pretty cool, and no small feat in a company as large as Nokia. Particularly for an outsider like Jan (he is the only research / design employee based in Japan).