The popularity of mobile, connected technologies has fueled one of the most exciting trends of the past 10 years: the quantified self.
Wearables have made a profound jump from crude pedometers to sophisticated trackers on the verge of being true insight-engines. “Health” used to be an abstraction, an object of mystery and speculation. But Fitbit and Jawbone have forever changed that by measuring the most important parts of health at once: eating, moving and sleeping. This quantification changed health into something we can act on and improve immediately. What gets measured, gets done. What gets done can be done 1% better.
At the heart of the quantified self movement there are three critical success factors: (1) quantifying and frequently measuring progress, (2) turning raw data into actionable insights, and (3) having that all take place within an open, supportive community of family, friends, and peers. Wearables still have a long way to go, but these three factors will be bedrocks of the quantified self for years to come. As we enjoy this ride, we’ve noticed one part of life that is conspicuously lacking the progress, insights and supportive community of wearables: work. We think the same success factors can apply to what we’re calling quantified work.
- Quantifying and Frequently Measuring Progress: Fitbit users take 43% more steps than non-Fitbit users. The numbers at work are even more compelling: highly-agile organizations are 6.5x more likely than low-performance organizations to respond quickly to changes in business environments and are up to 5x more likely to have cultures that encourage innovation and foster trust. We believe quantified work will help companies be more agile, and will allow employees to innovate faster.
- Transformation of Big Data into Actionable Insights: With more than 150 million nights of sleep tracked last year, Jawbone is performing the largest sleep study in human history. Big data is valuable, but data from truly novel datasets can provide dramatically more impactful insights. By quantifying progress at work and the impact progress has on meaningful goals or objectives, BetterWorks is poised to deliver never-before seen insights on how work really gets done and help enterprises become more data driven about their people.
- Openness and Social Reinforcement: The supportive communities within the quantified self have significant impact. Jawbone found that users who lost the largest amounts of weight had 11% more teammates. At work, the same social principles apply. Individuals are 40% more likely to achieve their goals by writing them down, and there’s a 78% increase in achievement when sharing weekly progress with a friend, thereby fostering accountability. BetterWorks helps bring a new degree of transparency to organizations by breaking down information silos, making goals open to the entire company, and including the progress updates and social gestures that individuals can use to encourage and support their teammates.
BYOW – The Coming of Apple Watch
The workplace is filled with countless productivity tools that are exceptionally well-suited for specific parts of work. Knowledge workers at cutting-edge companies have already moved well beyond BYOD and BYOA (bring your own device and application respectively.) They consider both of these trends givens. Now, with the newest generations of wearables soon entering the workplace, enterprises must embrace BYOW quickly to stay innovative. Of these new wearables, no device holds greater promise for the workforce than the Apple Watch.
Apple has been driving innovation in the enterprise for much of its history – the Mac, iPhone and iPad have all revolutionized how people work. We are confident that the Apple Watch will be a game-changer as well. The melding of so many apps and capabilities in a wearable form factor shows lots of promise. We are extremely excited to share one app that will definitely be part of the Apple Watch ecosystem: the BetterWorks app for the Apple Watch, available to BetterWorks users this summer. Check it out in action:
Our motivation behind building the BetterWorks Apple Watch app is simple: showing real-time goal data on a wearable device is a powerful, yet lightweight way of informing our users – especially busy executives – about the progress of their goals, without interrupting the work at hand. The app will make it easy to get a quick snapshot of where current goals stand, add short check-ins and cheer on coworkers achieving their goals.
To help us get BetterWorks for the Apple Watch rolled out and continue adding powerful functionality to our enterprise goals platform, I’m also excited to share that Jonathan Cheyer, former Senior Director of Engineering at Siri (then acquired by Apple) and iTunes Radio software engineer, has joined BetterWorks as our new Head of Engineering. Read more about why Jonathan is excited to join the BetterWorks team now – we’re so thrilled to have him on board.
To date, there hasn’t been an easy way to track the progress at work, deliver powerful insights about your people and have a source of truth for the work being done. BetterWorks is that source of truth, and the quantified self is our inspiration. When we see the various measures of health (steps, calories, hours slept, saturated fats and minutes active) tracked by Fitbit, we think of the siloed work tools. They aren’t being measured yet. We’re out to change that (and the Apple Watch app is only the tip of the iceberg). Corralling and quantifying work is the next revolution for the enterprise. Quantified work is the next frontier, and we’re excited to keep exploring it at BetterWorks.