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The history of Daily Challenge

Daily Challenge sprang from a simple idea: What would it take to get three to four minutes of your time each day to complete one small action that was designed to improve your well-being?

In April 2010, we conducted research and launched a three-month test (beta) version of the product. People who were part of the closed beta helped us shape the future of the Daily Challenge experience in many ways. We understood from their activity and feedback that the product needed to be more social. We also learned that people generally enjoyed receiving daily emails of small actions they could do for their well-being, as well as what kinds of challenges were the best received. At the time, the beta was email-only, without any online social interaction. We greatly appreciate those who took part in the beta. On their profile pages in Daily Challenge, they sport a “beta” tag as a token of appreciation and recognition.

In September 2010, Daily Challenge launched to the public.

MeYou Health was able to build a diverse team of engineers, gamers, and designers to collaborate on the first public iteration of Daily Challenge.

From day one, even before we had a product, we knew that we wanted to tackle well-being advancement from a different perspective. We wanted to employ four key principles to all we do at MeYou Health when creating a well-being product. These are:

1. Be Realistic -- For everything we build, we must recognize and respect the diverse challenges and capabilities of all people and give them achievable tasks.

2. Be Convenient -- For everything we build, we must be aware of the time constraints that everyone is under and provide solutions that easily fit into those constraints.

3. Be Immediate -- For everything we build, we must provide value from the very first interaction and create a sense of tangible progress.

4. Be Genuine -- We must never, ever trivialize the challenges that others face while pursuing well-being.
 

The latter part of 2010 was spent focused on enhancing Daily Challenge through iterative deployments of new features. During this time, we introduced Encouragements. We also continued to create new Stamps and talk about what it would mean when users reached the highest level we had designed for. We knew it was only a matter of time!

In early 2011, we continued to iterate on new features. Namely, Pacts. In February, we introduced a way in which two connections could make a five-day pact with one another. It was our first foray into social contracts, which we believed would drive higher engagement within the product. But more than that, it would deepen the social tie between the two participants of the pact. It was becoming evident that people were returning to the site to support their personal connections because they were invested in one another’s well-being.

In March 2011, Daily Challenge celebrated a new milestone: One million smiles were given out in the product. We had set out to create a social well-being product, and we were seeing the impact. Members of Daily Challenge were encouraging one another through our smile mechanism.

In May, we hit an exciting milestone: One million challenge completions!

in June, Daily Challenge was named a finalist in the MITX Innovation Awards for Best Use of Gamification.

From the start, we utilized our team’s experience in building engaging experiences with a gamification flair. We were not the first to use gaming mechanics in products, but we certainly knew that we could use them as not only a tool of progression but one of social contract and behavior change.

In July 2011, we introduced a mobile version of Daily Challenge to our 130,000+ members. Anyone visiting Daily Challenge from a smartphone now sees a special lightweight version that lets you complete challenges and share with others on the go. This also explains why people with smartphones automatically see the mobile-friendly version of Daily Challenge without having to bookmark the link: dcm.meyouhealth.com.

In August, before we’d even celebrated our first birthday, Daily Challenge hit another milestone: We launched Tracks. It was notably the biggest change to the product since its launch in September 2010. Tracks let users choose the exact areas of well-being that matter most to them. By the end of 2011, we had over 30 Tracks available, ranging from emotional health and mindful eating to stress relief, sound sleep, and family health.

Here’s what a couple of Daily Challenge members had to say when we asked them what they thought about tracks:

“I like the tracks, I get to choose what I feel I want to work on! Plus I have made more friends & still stay in touch w/those who are my friends, but on other tracks!” - Dee P.

“The general track got me in the habit of doing the daily challenge. The flexibility track is giving me the chance to create new habits. I especially like how you can combine challenges you learn over time to create full exercises.” - Julia B.


That same month, we celebrated another first: Being mentioned in Parade and SELF magazines. We also created our Daily Challenge Member Spotlight, a blog feature celebrating our inspirational members.

Then something else amazing happened: We reached two million challenge completions! In three months, the Daily Challenge community had completed one million challenges, bringing us to an inspiring total of two million. Two million! With the launch of Tracks, we saw engagement and challenge completions rise. It was incredibly humbling and exciting to see just how quickly Tracks were being unlocked.

In September 2011, we celebrated Daily Challenge’s one-year anniversary. With over 160,000 members celebrating with us, we rolled out two new stamps users could earn. The first was the collective celebration stamp. The second was more personalized, and each user earned it during the week of his or her individual anniversary in Daily Challenge. We wouldn’t be here without the growing community, and we wanted to show our appreciation for them in a special way.

At our one-year mark, we celebrated enthusiastically: 400,000,000 points earned, 100,000 friend connections made, and 3,000,000 comments shared!

That same month, we were mentioned in Health magazine and we formed a partnership with Deepak Chopra, a thought leader in the well-being space.

In October 2011, we were told that we were once again an MITX Award finalist. This time, we were nominated for an interactive award in the Healthcare and Wellspace category. The MITX Interactive Awards is one of the country’s largest and most prestigious competitions for interactive and web innovations, and we were thrilled to be recognized. We went on to win at the December awards ceremony!

The year 2011 was terrific for Daily Challenge. When we paused to reflect during the holidays, we realized there were plenty of reasons to be grateful. It also renewed our dedication and passion going into 2012.

By the end of the year, we had developed 850 challenges and 33 Daily Challenge Tracks.

From January to April 2012, we focused on establishing key business contacts that would enable us to test Daily Challenge as a workplace well-being solution. The workplace wellness industry is expanding; there’s a very strong need to address the health of employees across the world. With Daily Challenge, we offer a lightweight intervention that reaches beyond the workplace -- in other words, employees who use the product can also invite their “real” family and friends to participate alongside them. It’s something critical we learned when we worked exclusively with Activate Networks (formerly Med Networks): Social influence is a powerful thing, and positive change is more achievable when it’s done in a supportive environment.

In May, we celebrated a new, exciting milestone: 5 MILLION challenge completions!

Daily Challenge aims to get members to do one small action every day so that over time it will become a healthy routine that can easily become a part of people’s lives. More so, because of the social networking science we have used to develop the product, we understand the importance of social connections within Daily Challenge. We continue to hear that it is the connections in Daily Challenge that have truly inspired users to complete more of their challenges.  

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