Problems, whether beautiful, baffling or “wicked,” beg to be solved. In fact, a recent conference in Ann Arbor Michigan suggests there may even be an app for that problem. The Positive Technology Conference was recently held at the University of Michigan on March 26-27, 2015. Hosted by the University of Michigan Institute of Social Research, the conference was a confluence of UM faculty researchers, design technologists and other faculty, as well as consultants from several technology companies. The focus of the conference was on the use of smartphones as an important aid to research, problem-solving and well-being. The conference sought to bring together scholars and tech experts to bridge the language gap between them for the sake of innovation, advancing research (tools) and developing needed interventions.
Dr. Scott Campbell, Associate Professor University of Michigan, and Dr. Sara Konrath, Assistant Professor Indiana University, offered perspectives on “Theory of Using Technology to Enhance Well-being” at the conference. The conference also examined: “How Technology is Being Used to Enhance Well-being” and “The Digital Discovery Process.” LifeData’s Dr. Tim Steenbergh presented on the use of Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) strategies. Tim highlighted LifeData’s new web-based system for building EMA/EMI experiences(LifePaksTM) and iOS/Android applications for delivery of the experiences to mobile users.
The main focus of the weekend was a competition requiring researchers and technologists to work together in teams to identify and solve a wicked problem by means of a mobile app intervention. Over the course of two days, each of the seven teams defined the problem and crafted a solution using mobile technology. Each team presented their wicked problem and proposed mobile solution during a five minute presentation. Following the presentations, conference attendees voted for the top three groups/solutions. LifeData’s Dr. Doug Daugherty co-led his team’s presentation, which was awarded first place. This team used the LifeData platform to imagine (i.e. build) a mobile app intervention to improve academic persistence and retention among community college students. Doug commented, “The LifeData mobile platform provided our team with a real edge, which we were happy to use to our advantage.”
As the power and flexibility of the LifeData system becomes more widely known, the various applications for research and positive change will continue to evolve in innovative, creative and surprising ways. We hope that you take the time to explore how you might use this emerging technology in your research, organization or practice. Learn more about the science behind the LifeData system here.