This is what stuck out to me at SXSW 2012: the number of apps (and ideas) that have emerged to focus on changing behaviors: recycling more, exercising more, using public transportation, eating healthier foods. Each of them, through the ability to:
- Capture behaviors in real-time
- Track behaviors over time (sometimes with annotations)
- Gain context by comparing amounts relative to our network(s)
What's amazing to me, as a psychologist, is how unaware we are of our behaviors without external cues and how we really need these technological advances to inform us. Better awareness of our behaviors is critical. Some psychologists believe observing our behaviors is how we come to know ourselves. Perhaps it seems preposterous that we would be blind to our own behaviors, but often people go to extreme measures to better understand their 'daily footprint'. For example, 30-day Master Cleanses; not using a car for a month; walking around with all your trash for a few weeks.
Sometimes it's more simple-- mere awareness transcends deprivation- invisible metrics are made visible and put in the hands of users.
Using apps that facilitate this awareness is a great experiment for those (e.g. brand managers, product developers) trying to crack the measurement nut. Become aware of how your own behavior changes to start thinking about what really matters when you're measuring your consumers' behavior. I often find this is the best framework for measurement in addition to reporting.