Mid-week you’ll usually find me leaning against the bar in the Book Club, sipping on a delicious rum and ginger beer (appropriately named ‘hipster’ cocktail), but Future Human recently took over the venue.
Their welcome return provided a night of hands-on entertainment and interesting discussion around wearable technology and the future of the self-improvement industry.
Since the late 20th century the self-improvement industry has changed and grown a lot. Staggeringly, consumers have spent over seven billion pounds and devoted unprecedented energy towards understanding themselves better, as a result creating the ‘Me’ generation, hell bent in the pursuit of ‘wholeness’.
Today, the ‘Smart Self’ movement encompasses a growing industry in personal health and fitness technologies, digitally customisable clothing that the wearer can ‘code’ or which interprets your emotions, and signals to others how you’re feeling at any given time.
The evening introduced a host of guest speakers such as Francesca Rosella – the co-founder of Cute Circuit, Paul Landau the CEO of Fitbug and Daniel Hirschmann a co-founder of Technology will Save Us. Across the discussion panel there were a variety of opinions – a hot topic in particular was the future of the self-improvement industry and which of the current offerings were more likely to make a huge impact on how we live our lives (let’s just say, they didn’t pull any punches!).
One thing was unanimous – technology is the future. Luckily we’ve jumped headfirst into the digital era, leaving behind the (not so) distant and embarrassing memories of trying to keep up with the likes of Jane Fonda in the privacy of our own homes. The possibilities are now endless and, at this rate, technology is set to revolutionise our lives from informing us on what to eat, how to exercise, to how to prevent that ‘Monday morning blues’ feeling.
Capturing invisible data about ourselves seems to be the easy bit (if you can afford it) – however, how customers view, interpret and action this vast amount of information is an altogether more challenging aspect for the industry.
If providers can’t get this right, their product offerings and hard work may all be in vain. Brands need to consider how to deliver meaningful data to the end-users. Do they want more than a device that monitors their performance and behaviour? Or would they prefer direct and prescriptive advice on how to actively change their lifestyle? The only way to do this is to really get under the skin of their target audience through research.