Do Apps change behaviour?

I’m on my annual pilgrimage skiing in the alps. I’m very lucky that I generally manage 4 or 5 weeks a year.

I’ve never used a ski tracker app but for this year four of us all downloaded Ski tracks. It’s a useful little app works out when you are on a lift and gives you whole set of stats about your days skiing.

Now I’ve always been a great believer in measurement to drive change. It does take a lot of thought though as if the measures are not well linked to what you are trying to achieve they will not fulfil the objective.

Back to skiing, essentially I go skiing for three reasons, fun, to practice and improve my skiing and also to teach.

An app sounds like it could help with this?

Well it certainly changed behaviours, suddenly we were obsessed with speed and distance and a lesser extent gradient. Where before we’d go down a slope enjoying it and making sure we were making the best set of tramlines or controlling speed on a steep, suddenly it was brains out lets go faster.

Then it was I wonder how far we can go in a day. Gone was the fun, the practice and the teaching it was straight lines between the lifts and repetitions of the longest runs.

The measurement is interesting and something to discuss in the bar, but I’ve taken to not looking at it during the day and gone back to why I go skiing.

Measurement can be good but this is a prime example of why you need to take a lot of time thinking about measures. We had a senior manager from the NHS with and managed to draw a lot of parallels of how targets there have unintended consequences.

There was one interesting by product the apple phones generally measured 10% more speed and distance than the android phones. Maybe Apple owner really will inherit the earth they are certainly being told they are better and faster.

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