Feeling Fit

This Foodie Friday, it’s about chickens and eggs. Putting aside the age-old question about which came first, I read something interesting about them the other day and I thought it pointed us all in a good direction.

Before we get into our topic at hand, let me ask you if you wear any sort of device such as a Fitbit? I only started wearing one about 9 months ago but I’ve learned quite a bit about how my body works. For example, I have a very low resting heart rate and I generally fall within the norms for men my age when it comes to my sleep pattern. It’s also helpful when it comes to tracking how much exercise I get and I was surprised to find that walking up and down the hills of my golf course is equivalent to walking up and down 60 floors.

It turns out that we can use Fitbit-like devices for other things, one of which is to improve egg production without chemicals. Scientists at the University of California have found that a Fitbit-like device worn by farm chickens may help combat insect infestations and eventually increase the production of fresh eggs. The tiny device tracks bird behavior rather than steps. It measures a chicken’s distinct actions, such as biting, pecking, and preening. Chickens who engage in more feather cleaning are more likely to have infections, and the data can help farmers track down affected chickens before an infestation spreads to the whole flock.

It got me thinking about how we tend to take whatever measuring we’re doing in business for granted without actually spending time thinking about if there are things unmeasured that could be useful or if we could measure things in a different way. Many of the analytics we’re used to seeing are, frankly, pretty useless. Marketing investment is justified based on activity (GRPs, Impressions, Reach, etc.), and not based on outcomes (Revenue, Loyalty, Intent, etc.). The chicken producers are smarter than that. Their focus is on the outcome – more eggs.

We need to think about what we measure in terms of purpose and not just in terms of output. We need to reframe our thinking. And I must be pretty passionate about this because according to my Fitbit, my heart rate is up a full 3 beats per minute as I’m writing this!

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Filed under Consulting, food

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