Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Trying Something New - Empire Avenue


While somewhat of a traditionalist, I do enjoy exploring new things and I ran across a new social media toy today that is fascinating. Empire Avenue (www.empireavenue.com @empireave @dups) is a "social stock market, where you can grow your social capital online." Empire Avenue combines the qualities of social media, gaming theory, and incentives/rewards into an integrated experience.

How it works - when you are communicating, listening, and following people throughout the day on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, and writing blog posts, you will earn Eaves, their virtual currency as well as earn dividends for those who have invested in you. The greater your social media presence and influence, the greater your stock price. Empire Avenue states their objective is to help "create 'value-based' relationships, a deeper relationship than simply 'following' someone, in a completely less intrusive context than becoming 'friends.'"

I was on a call today with Ric (@Fishmammal), Empire Avenue's VP of Strategy & Business Development, who walked us through the site and capabilities. Sign-up and getting started are a little more complicated than Facebook and Twitter, but like most web 2.0 tools, you have to get past the initial apprehensions and jump in with both feet. Buying and selling social stock and watching your bank rise (and fall) can be addicting.

There is also an interesting brand play as you can access what Empire calls social media mavens who can be leveraged to help promote your brand. According to their web site, AT&T, Ford, Oreo, Dell, and Toyota have all used Empire Avenue for business.

While you are there, buy as much LESMCP as you can afford. I am up almost 17 eaves today already.


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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Don't Try to Go At It Alone

Caroline Lu of the Mayo Clinic's Center for Innovation wrote a brilliant blog this week laying out the results of a study where people made positive health behavior changes by working with health coaches. The truly fascinating part of the project is that progress was shown when coaches helped individuals identify their strengths, and in determining their strengths, help build confidence and small success.

Rather than back the dump truck up and tell people "Here are the 45 things you need to do by tomorrow to improve your health" (which inevitably leads to accomplishing zero), this observed research supports design thinking that building on what we do well (for me, it is regular exercise) as a springboard to improve where we need it (nutrition, until Reese's Cups makes it as a basic food group).

Health coaching is a great thing to help facilitate health behavior change, but it is also time consuming and expensive. I wonder if technology, social networking, and asynchronous coaching (content, e-mail, text, message posting) could provide anything close to a similar level of benefit without direct, face-to-face health coaching, which is out of the reach of most people? How can we as health innovators help consumers benefit from the results of this study any time, any where?

Link to Caroline's blog: http://dev.blog.centerforinnovation.mayo.edu/?p=549


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Friday, October 14, 2011

The Heart of Innovation: 100 Reasons Why You Won't Read This Blog Posting

The Heart of Innovation: 100 Reasons Why You Won't Read This Blog Posting

Health Care Bright Spot in 2011 Jobs Picture

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), health care created 258,000 jobs through September. This is nearly as many as the 263,400 health care jobs created in all of 2010.

While this has had negligible impact on the nation's unemployment rate (steady at 9.1%), it makes you wonder if this will result in improved efficiency within the health care arena, or if it is simply a response to the coming health care reform changes? I suspect the latter which, if true, will yield little mitigation of the ever increasing cost of health care as this hiring is likely to be in response to administrative requirements of reform and not to improve delivery and quality of care.

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How health is like riding a bike

I read an article today about how leadership is like riding a bike (http://business.financialpost.com/2011/10/12/how-leadership-is-like-riding-a-bike/).
While it is an interesting take on some of the responsibilities of leadership, it got me thinking about its relevance to health. Sometimes maintaining or improving our health can feel like an ​individual competition. But it's really a journey that requires preparation, stamina (mental stamina to keep at it), resiliency to overcome setbacks, and a community of support and encouragement.
There’s more to riding a bike than riding a bike; there’s more to health than being healthy. As the author writes, I've been able to ride a bike since I was 7, so what's the big deal about my health? Well, forethought in balancing family, work, friends, and commitments. Vision to have the perspective of a healthy lifestyle today means a better quality of life, lower medical expenses, and a greater probability that I will be around long enough to enjoy life. And of course my clothes will hopefully fit better.
Being healthy doesn't mean always being on your own. One of the biggest advantages of cycling is that others can pull while you enjoy the benefits of the draft. While this doesn't eliminate the fact that maintaining our health is work and someone else cannot do it for us, it does mean we can benefit from the experience, learnings, and expertise of others.
Lastly, we don't have to go it alone. While sometimes I enjoy a lengthy ride by myself, there is no substitute for a community (peloton in cycling circles). Others who care about us, can protect us when needed, and most of all, support and encourage us through the inevitable climbs that are too tough to go at it alone.
And remember, if you fall off the health cycle, just jump back on again tomorrow.