I suppose a natural extension of the "public to-do list" concept we explored a while back on metacool would be something like a "public progress report". Assuming the to-do list was on the web and somewhat wiki-like, you’d be able to click-thru on any individual to-do list item to see its status. The progress report could take the form of a blog.
Once you were there, you could be part of making it happen. Offer some advice. Find out how to help. Cheer the effort on. Or just send some love.
A good example of a public progress report is Russell Davies’s nonentity fat club blog, which plays yin to the yang of his eggsbaconchipsandbeans blog. It’s been cool to track the progress of his entire getting in shape effort, and it makes me want to run (or walk) out and get a Nike+ setup. Especially with nifty data services available like Justdoing.it, which allows you to set up a RSS badge of your running data. For use on your public progress report, of course.
Zooming out to the big picture, I can think of many corporate innovation efforts which could benefit greatly from this kind of transparency. Not to keep the team members feeling like they’re under a microscope, of course, but to tie them to a larger community which could help them along. It’s tempting to think of progress measures solely as a way to evaluate performance; it’s much more interesting, optimistic, and useful to find a way to use them to improve performance as it happens.
Traineo.com launched last year with similar ideas. Traineo is a fitness site with all the normal functionality, it allows you to keep track of you diet, exercise data, weight, etc. Based on your data the site gives you an idea of how you’re doing, if your burning or storing calories.
The interesting this about the site is that you can set up “motivators”, people you’ve told you were dieting, or people you’d like to know your progress. The site will send emails to your motivators about your progress and it will allow you them to cheer you on. Pretty neat concept.
I picked up a Nike+ kit for my iPod just after Christmas, I don’t get too excited with products, but this product kills it. I don’t really like to run (in fact I hate running), and i’ve run over 30 miles in the past two weeks. I found myself waking up early so I would have time to run even when I was on vacation.
The seamless integration of the product is really inspiring. Nike/Apple aren’t really selling you a product, it’s an amazing service. It’s really helped me get over the hump to start exercising a lot more. Oh, and it’s true when they say…you don’t really have to buy the Nike shoes, just put the sensor in your sock on the top of your foot. There are few products I use and think to myself “damn, this was $30 well spent.”