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The news that doctors are increasingly using their iPhones to measure their patients' heartbeats is a great reminder of how a device can be engineered for one purpose and used in a completely different way (a disruptive innovation, to trot out the well-worn phrase). Bet Apple didn't see iStethoscope coming.

The news that doctors are increasingly using their iPhones to measure their patients' heartbeats is a great reminder of how a device can be engineered for one purpose and used in a completely different way (a disruptive innovation, to trot out the well-worn phrase). Bet Apple didn't see iStethoscope coming.

Another great idea and well-engineered implementation is Mappiness, which asks iPhone users (about once a day) how happy they are, along with "a few basic things to control for: who you're with, where you are, what you're doing". The responses and the approximate location are analysed, creating a hedonimeter that shows the average happiness for a location (London is looking a little below average at the moment).

Mappiness follows the good advice "Measure what is measurable, and make measurable what is not" from Galileo Galilei, as does one of the strands of the RSA's Citizen Power programme. The purpose of the Civic Health Audit, led by my colleague Ben, is to develop a tool that could be used by communities and local authorities to better measure local residents' capability to participate in shaping the places in which they live. You can have a closer look here.

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