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Turning Big Data into Smart Data: Nike+ Drives Valuable Insight

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Nike+ to make big data open for everyone

It was 2006 when Nike turned the most simple of sports into a key driver for adopting a healthier lifestyle. 7 years later, Nike+ now has about 7 million users. Socially rich data is key for any quantified self project, and running is no exception. The success of Nike+ is an example of how measuring performance is useful to gaining key insight. For users, they get to understand their running patterns better. For Nike, servers worth of Nike+ data can be turned into strategic business decisions to improve company performance.

Nike’s vast amount of data on the physical performance of runners has turned into an initiative to see what more can be done with the data to make inferences upon social and mental behavior as well. The Nike+Accelerator program gave data access to software developers so that new startups could be created around the data available.  10 winners have since been selected to have their products demoed on June 10th this year.

Nike also used the data to perform life-cycle analysis of the shoe material because not much was known about the sustainable quality since Nike’s supply chain is quite long. By analyzing data of 7 million users, most of which are long-term users, Nike was able to help 600 designers make cost-effective, quality-enhancing, and sustainable changes to product material.

The icing on the cake is that Nike made all this data open-source and accessible to everyone else in the industry. Nike’s ambitious and generous goal is to hopefully collaborate with other companies to create a vendor index. By turning big data into smart data at each and every point of the supply chain, this gives people the right data when they actually need to use it. Nike is providing a great example of how opening-up data sets can bring additional value to the entire supply chain.

All thanks to gamification. Stefan Olander, VP of Nike’s Digital Sport division, said, “People want credit for their physical activity.” It’s true. Not everyone can be a professional, but people are passionate about engaging in being active. Nike+ game mechanics turns everyone into smatter self-coaches through motivation and social inspiration. For its users, it is to help lead a healthier lifestyle. For Nike, it is to help the industry guide each other into making smarter choices.

via SmartDataCollective | Flickr Image by Samuel Huron 

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