Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Keeping healthy has never been so easy

It’s just past mid-January and how many of us have already fallen by the wayside of keeping to any fitness-orientated resolutions and are now holding our heads in shame at our feeble attempts to do a “dri-athlon” in January.

The thing about focusing on health is it’s not just for Xmas. It’s for life. And in this hyper-mobile and uber-connected world that we all live in, we now have no excuses.

As evidenced at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, 2013 will see a raft of gadgets to monitor everything from pulse to oxygen levels with numerous tools which can be simply be plugged into our mobiles.  And these devices will use a lower powered version of blue-tooth so the batteries will last for days or weeks. There’s a whole advance in “hidden technology” launching this year such as ipod headphones which have infra-red sensors to detect blood flow inside the ear to monitor heart rate and the ipod itself acting as an “accelorometer” to determine distance. Software is cleverly being built into wrist straps and sunglasses to measure and motivate versus targets. The most exciting development perhaps are the plans for equipment to be powered by the work-out themselves, converting body heat to electricity.

2013 is also going to be the year that accelerates the current trend in “Appscriptions”. There are now over 13,000 apps relevant to health in the Apple app store so a deluge of options for consumers to pick their way through to find the right one.  These “appscriptions” allow you to pro-actively monitor your own health much more closely and take heed of any early warning signals. An extension of this will be the arrival of pop-up clinics where patients speak face to screen with a doctor who directs them on how to carry out various tests for themselves. 

So if the dri-athlon was too great a hurdle to overcome as the year kicked in at full pelt, don’t despair.  Commit yourself to a TRY-athlon. TRY to give some genuine thought to  your health. Investigate the relevant devices and apps for you. Join online communities and share your successes. Nike is doing all this brilliantly with their Nike + Running apps and Nike Fuel proposition. Indeed they have transformed themselves into more of a tech company specialising in “digital sport” rather  than a fitness business these days.

Looking after your health is not just for January. It’s a life-long commitment. That’s why I’m already booked into a couple of half marathons this year and am considering a Half Ironman later on this year.

by Caroline Kinsey

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Vicious Cirkle

Amelia Torode is head of digital and innovation at the Good Relations Group. She’s a PR.

But she’s a PR with a difference in that she’s come to us from adland having previously worked for Ogilvy in New York and VCCP here in London.  So she’s an interesting part of our evolving industry which is increasingly seeing not just journalists join our ranks, but also people from across the wider spectrum of communications.

Amelia wrote a brilliant piece for The Holmes Report last week ( in which she suggested ways in which PR might overcome the perceived lack of creativity we suffer from: “a culture shift towards curiosity, constraints and conflict”.

Amelia’s basic argument is that too often we’re delivering tactical creative and that it’s because we don’t employ enough curious people or train our people to be more curious, that we don’t often enough write tight creative briefs and because we’re all too damn nice and avoid the conflict from which truly great ideas are often born.

She’s so right.

On everything.

I’ve spoken before about curiosity and its role as the life-blood of creative people: they take a child-like delight in the new, are constantly interested, are constantly ‘adding dots’, as Steve Jobs might have put it.

And I’ll cover creative briefs in another post.

But conflict, sweet conflict… it doesn’t happen half enough in most agencies.  The people who passionately deviate from the prevailing view are often seen as negatively disruptive, they are to be side-lined rather than encouraged, even if it feels uncomfortable at the time.

So this year I’m going to be looking for some more creative viciousness at Cirkle.  I want people to get so into what they’re developing they fall out with each other.  I’m going to encourage internal battles over ideas before they reach the clients.

I might tell the team about the coming torrent of argument, but then again, that’d be the nice thing to do.

By Nick Woods
Deputy MD, Cirkle