This week start here:

We usually begin with some sort of think piece on the future of brands or deep organizational theory. This week, something different. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that randomly-triggered text messages to a subset of heart patients drove considerably-stronger adherence to medication regimen.

The full report is here (requires registration). A considerably-easier read from The Incidental Economist is here (5min). From the latter:

They estimated the cost of this program to be about $10 for the 96 messages sent out. We could automate this easily. You don’t even need a smartphone to get a text message.

This is promising. It really is. It’s low cost. It’s easy to do. It can work in resource-limited settings. If this was a drug, people would be investing like crazy.

This is a really big deal, with enormous implications for the work that a lot of us do.

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Two things you could smash together in profoundly interesting ways, were you so inclined:

  1. According to McKinsey, urban mobility (and the resulting environmental damage) is nearing a tipping point (25min)
  2. Rajiv Lal has a fascinating piece for HBR on why mobile payment systems continue to flounder in key global markets (7min). Hint: it’s context, not technology.
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Everything mainstreams: SPIDER is a fascinating program that has built a service design toolkit for European public policy organizations (40 min). We assume that they work elsewhere, too.

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This is brilliant: Noah Veltman attempts to understand the shape of the Internet (2 min to 2 hours) on the basis of illustrations from patent applications.

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From Elizabeth Wissinger’s fascinating recap of Fashion Week (4min) for Culture Digitally, this:

During this fashion week more than ever before, the streets became runways in the world of Insta-girls populating our feeds…It seems the adorable fashion students who used to hang around the tents, hoping to soak it all up by osmosis, are now jockeying for position with the self branding fashion bloggers, already, or about to be, well known. Being always ready to be photographed has become a profession of sorts, and it didn’t start with the Kardashians.

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If you’ve not seen Nat & Lo’s YouTube channel explaining the behind the scenes operations of Google, their primer on Machine Learning and Deep Neural Networks (6min) is a terrific place to start.

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If you do (or might) use social data to glean customer insights, give Wasim Ahmed’s piece on the challenges of the Twitter as a research platform (5min) a read.

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Even yet still more VW vitriol (4min), this time from Gerry McGovern:

The more we learn about the world the more we learn not to trust organizations and brands.

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While your author can condone crying during a movie in certain specific circumstances*, the idea of tearing up in response to advertising sounds absurd. Sociologist Stjepan Meštrović calls this ‘post-emotionalism’ (4min), described as a response to:

a “daily diet of phoniness”: a barrage of emotional manipulation from every corner of culture, news, entertainment, infotainment, and advertising

*the end of Rudy, the end of Almost Famous, Up, and (inexplicably) The Blind Side

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Take a few minutes and read this conversation with composers/musicians Nils Frahm and Ólafur Arnalds — it’s not nearly so pretentious as it sounds — on collaboration and friendship. If you make things for others, you’ll find something here to love.

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Finally, Adam Heslop’s Feather Light (1min) — a light show built from Cinema 4D and a custom python plugin — is absolutely mesmerizing.

Until next week.