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Nike+ – A Great Example of What Collaboration Can Accomplish

Today, I completed my longest run in about a year. Actually, it was my longest run since April 3rd, 2010 – when I ran 18.96km in 2 hours, 5 minutes and 29 seconds, at an average pace of 6 minutes and 37 seconds per kilometer.

How the heck do I know that? Well, I record my runs using the Nike+iPod sports kit, the ingenious collaboration between Nike and Apple that has benefited runners worldwide since its launch in 2006.

There are two main reasons why I marvel at Nike+:

1. An innovative product from a unique collaboration

I believe that over the coming years we are going to see more instances of companies – sometimes even competitors – joining forces in unique collaborations.  There are many potential benefits to be gained, including shared knowledge and data, shared resources, and opportunity to develop new and innovative products and services by leveraging and combining strengths.

2. It’s social and community-driven

The Nike+ experience extends well beyond the runs, thanks to a fantastic website and online community that has been cultivated. Not only can Nike+ users record and track runs using the website, they can share their experiences with runners worldwide while also benefiting from some rich content – including a training tips blog.

Recently, Nike+ also added a “Challenges” section, through which individual users can create running challenges and invite community members to participate. Sample challenges include “365 miles in 2011”, in which all participants are challenged to run 365 miles, and “Fastest 5km in 2011”. Each challenge includes a leader board, adding some incentive for participants to compete against one another.

  • @LiamLahey

    I noticed your recent +10 km run via Facebook. Nice! I’m a 5 to 7-km runner at best. I’ve often thought about using the Nike+iPod to record my runs & maybe even share my progress but I have not. I see a number of my friends doing so & yet I refuse. Why?

    The reason: brand loyalty *shock!* I don’t like Nike running shoes. I prefer & wear Asics. I’m not aware of Asics providing a similar online community but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. However, if it does exist, Asics needs to take a page out of Nike’s book and promote it better.

  • http://twitter.com/ericbuchegger Eric Buchegger

    Liam, you don’t need a Nike running shoes to use Nike+. I use New Balance – and I doubt I will ever switch, because they fit my wide feet. You can get 3rd party Nike+ attachment, for only a few dollars, enabling you to attach the chip to your running shoes. I bought mine at Running Room. The chip is still very accurate – I had measured distance of 43.38km for the Vancouver marathon (actual marathon distance is 43.2km).

  • http://twitter.com/hollymclennan hollymclennan

    This would be brilliant for treadmill runs!

  • http://twitter.com/ericbuchegger Eric Buchegger

    Yes, it would be. For some reason, however, I’ve noticed that Nike+ isn’t quite as accurate when I use it on a treadmill.

  • http://skatezoid.com Jon Suk

    Agreed. It is a great collaboration between two companies in seemingly disparate industries. I give much of the credit of my transition from being a non-runner [anti-runner, actually] to looking forward to my first half-marathon on May 1st, to having started using Nike+iPod. While the performance of the Nike Running website is rather sluggish, its feature list is great.