Runkeeper (Health Graph update)

Short description

Runkeeper recently released their “health graph”. This is a very interesting feature that brings together different aspects of life in a way that could be transformative.

This is how Jason Jacobs describes the health graph on Runkeepers blog:

“When we launched RunKeeper almost 3 years ago, it was just an iPhone app and an online fitness community. We’ve come a long way–in addition to the iPhone, the RunKeeper mobile app is now available for Android and Windows Phone 7, and we’ve built up a community of more than 6 million fitness enthusiasts that continues to grow at an accelerating pace.

Along the way, no one has pushed us harder than our users for the ability to tie more health data in with their RunKeeper experience. As a test to see how our users would respond, we integrated with a few fitness sensors along the way, including a wi-fi body scale, sleep monitoring devices, and heart rate transmitters. The result has been incredible–as RunKeeper users incorporate more fitness devices, their engagement level increases around tracking their health and fitness. They no longer face the burden of accessing data in a host of different places; more of their health and fitness data is in a single unified view, and they can share it out to friends easily for support and encouragement, using RunKeeper’s social tools.

We’ve also been quietly building a powerful correlation engine to make meaning of this robust health information across categories. Simply having a central location to store all of this data wasn’t enough–we needed to store it in a way that enabled us to help users quickly and easily make sense of it. How did their health and fitness progress over time? Which of their actions helped drive them to reach their goals? What social motivators inspired them to push themselves further? By organizing this health and fitness data in one place, establishing weighted correlations, and introducing the element of time, the Health Graph emerged.

Imagine a system that can identify correlations between a user’s eating habits, workout schedule, social interactions and more, to deliver an ecosystem of health and fitness apps, websites, and sensor devices that really work, based on a user’s own historical health and fitness data. The Health Graph has the potential to completely alter the health and fitness landscape.”

With very small changes this app could help change lifestyles in significant ways.

More information about the health-graph here.

The best with the app/supporting initiative

+ Could shift the way society approaches health. Instead of only focusing on getting people healthy once they are sick, focus is on supporting people living healthy lives. This could change society in fundamental ways and there are large vested interests that will not be happy to see this happen as their business model is based on people getting sick (or being diagnosed as sick).

The weak parts of the app/supporting initiative

- It is still very much focused on the athletic side.
- No links to the environmental impacts of different choices.

What could accelerate this app/supporting initiative into a world changer?

> More focus on different things that stress people (sitting in cars during rush hour, being bombarded by commercials, etc) and that would bring the health discussion to a level beyond food/exercise. It looks like the team is already there so new features are likely to emerge.
> Add social and environmental impacts (other peoples’ health and the planet’s health) in the graph in addition to the direct health of the user. Even if the numbers will be very rough it would highlight our relation to other people/places on the planet.


How direct is the delivery of the result the app tries to achieve
  • Direct
  • Indirect
  • Inspirational
  • Long shot


Using the app can inspire people to think about the life they live and what they see as quality of life. But the app in itself could also drown among many other “athletic” apps for people that focus on their own body and not much more.

Transformative approach

How transformative is it
  • A new world
  • A major shift
  • A bit of a shake-up
  • A gentle rocking


The more comprehensive approach to health is transformative and so is the increased transparency and possibility to track your life that the app provides.

How much does it encourage collaborations

How much are new networks supported
  • Strong support for global networks?
  • Currently encourages new forms of collaboration
  • Provides interesting opportunities in the future
  • Restricted to a small (expert) group


There are links to collaboration, but it is basically limited to exercise today. The approach could be broadened and there are many interesting opportunities.

What synergies can be delivered

How well does it also solve other problems/generate solutions
  • It solves everything
  • Several important challenges
  • Some important challenges
  • Only one challenge


With health linked to your lifestyle almost all aspects of life can be addressed, from how you read and work, to how you save your money and collaborate with others in projects beyond exercise.

Nine billion contribution

How global is it? Is it helping/will it help everyone on the planet
  • Instant global equality
  • Almost global
  • Getting (incrementally) global
  • Not applicable


Today very little (nothing?) in the app encourages, or even informs, users about their impact on nature depending on the choices they make. Even if they take the SUV to run close to where they live, or plan a trip to a climate sensitive area that involves a long-haul flight, there is noting in the app to help people understand that this is not really sustainable.

Building on current trends

How well does it use current trends
  • The app is setting new trends by itself
  • Building on multiple trends
  • Effectively building on one trend
  • Not really building on any major trend


Living a more healthy life and keeping track of this in real-time with mobile devices is on its way to become mainstream.


How fast can it deliver
  • It's already happening
  • In the coming weeks
  • In a year or so
  • In a distant future (hopefully)


The delivery of transformative solutions today is indirect, but can easily be achieved by adding small tweaks to the current app.


Does it support transformative transparency
  • Brave new transparency
  • Transparency that is innovative (never seen before)
  • Increased transparency, but nothing innovative
  • No increase in transparency


Real-time information about your body and the opportunities you have to live a healthy life (though exercise, good food and sleep in this case) can help create a deeper understanding of what the forces are that influence our lives and what we can do about them.

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