This month at Recipe, our strategy team have been examining how digital devices and robots are changing how we foster companionship. We’ve also been investigating emerging consumer behaviours and metrics, and how they are driving businesses to become more honest, transparent, and sustainable.
Smart phones and devices have brought about the normalisation of digital assistants in our daily lives. These assistants can be most valuable when helping individuals navigate and manage life-stage phases, changes or medical conditions. Unlike their human counterparts, these phase and condition specific assistants can provide 24/7 support, advice and reassurance.
A recent example is Garmin’s new pregnancy tracking feature. Through the Garmin Connect app, mums-to-be can monitor their journey, by tracking 30+ pregnancy related symptoms such as fatigue and dizziness. The app also allows users to track the size of their baby, as well as offering relevant health and nutrition related tips as their pregnancy progresses.
By helping individuals to learn about and understand their life-stage changes and medical conditions, from puberty, to peri-menopause or diagnosis of type 2 diabetes these services provide support and companionship that can supplement professional expertise. This is particularly valuable when navigating the uncertainties and anxieties of a new condition, and the sense of isolation heightened by social medical conditions that are not openly discussed, or the necessities of social distancing and shielding.
As digital assistants continue to advance, life-stage and condition specific assistants and feature add-ons will likely follow, creating greater personalisation and empathy in the navigate our health journeys.
Connective technologies have drastically changed the way that we communicate. They’ve given us an abundance of ways to connect, but at the same time lowered the quality of our communications and personal interactions. Their overall impacts on society are constantly contested, but one indisputable benefit is how easily they allow people to connect and form new friendships, helping people to feel less lonely.
With the global pandemic limiting travel and social interaction technology offers the opportunity to recreate the serendipity of connection and friendship forming. An app that has captured this is Dialup - a serendipitous voice-chat platform that allows people all over the world to connect through conversation. Dialup allows users to choose from a list of predetermined topics, and matches those with mutual interests. To help with the loneliness that arose from lockdown and social distancing, Dialup also created a daily random chat called QuarantineChat.
Dialup shows how connective technologies have made it easier for people to seek social contact, something particularly valuable for those who would be otherwise isolated. It is true that we need to better understand the long term impact of these technologies on our interactions. However, we mustn’t underestimate the value it has in helping people to form new connections and feeling less alone. How might these technologies also build understanding and empathy across distanced communities and individuals?
The impact of daily choices from diet to energy supply are becoming common knowledge, but the impact of our digital footprint remains less tangible. Companies including Organic Basics are trying to change this, giving consumers the choice to browse a lower impact version of their site.
A result of their low impact manifesto, the site displays outline previews of products; only loading low resolution photographs when prompted, and adjusting the site’s energy use based upon the amount of renewable energy available to the server. Together these actions reduce energy use by 70% while educating consumers on the impact of their browsing behaviours.
With the internet accountable for 3.7% of global carbon emissions, and awareness growing, demand for ethical solutions like this will increase. How can digital platforms continue to empower users to make more environmentally conscious decisions, and better manage their impact online?
Consumers are becoming more conscious of the impact and ethics of the things they consume. This shift is driving brands to be more transparent about the sourcing of their products and materials, as well as their use of resource from water to carbon footprint. Companies such as Daye are taking this further with honesty and transparency about their supply chain, cost and comparative performance.
Inspired by the radically transparent fashion brand Everlane, Daye have made each step of their supply chain, and the associated costs, publicly available on their website. They also provide data on how their product performance compares to competitors, and the scientific research and data supporting their claims.
This pioneering approach to honesty and transparency is vital to allow consumers to make more complete and calculated ethical decisions. How can mainstream brands better support consumers to make more balanced and complete ethical decisions balancing the needs and values important to individuals and the planet?
Growing understanding of wellness has led people to be more conscious of the things that they consume, and how these products might impact and benefit their holistic health. Indi Supplements are a plant-based supplement brand, boldly celebrating the ingredient source and compositional make-up of each of their products from front of pack to digital brand messaging. This refreshingly honest approach helps individuals quickly understand the product composition, and adds value, emphasising that there is nothing to hide.
Indi’s approach to honesty is above the industry standard. As consumers continue to learn more about their holistic health. However, this honesty will shift from nice-to-have to a minimum requirement, causing brands to re-assess the ingredients they use, and how they communicate them.
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