RUNNING STORIES

Short List
TitleRUNNING STORIES
BrandRUNNING STORIES
Product / ServiceRUNNING STORIES APP
CategoryA04. Early-stage Technology
EntrantBBH Singapore, SINGAPORE
Idea Creation BBH Singapore, SINGAPORE
Production FREEFLOW PRODUCTIONS Singapore, SINGAPORE
Production 2 CRYSTAL TECHNOLOGY SOLUTION CO LTD Hanoi, VIETNAM
Post Production FUSE ADVENTURES IN AUDIO Singapore, SINGAPORE

Credits

Name Company Position
Joakim Borgström BBH Singapore Worldwide Chief Creative Officer
Sascha Kuntze BBH Singapore Chief Creative Officer
Lynette Chua BBH Singapore Business Director
Dillah Zakbah BBH Singapore Creative Technology & Innovation Director
Gaston Soto BBH Singapore Creative Director
Omar Sotomayor BBH Singapore Creative Director
Luke Somasundram BBH Singapore Writer
Jia Rong Sng BBH Singapore Junior Creative Technologist
Wendi Chong BBH Singapore Executive Producer
Lesley Chelvan BBH Singapore Head of Delivery
Lee Adamson BBH Singapore Front End Developer
Asiya Bakht BBH Singapore PR Director
Jason Denning BBH Singapore Photographer
Zachary Desker BBH Singapore Junior Art Director
Jonathan Gerard BBH Singapore Executive Producer
John Hadfield BBH Singapore Chief Executive Officer
Deng Hui Heng BBH Singapore Designer
KC Hong BBH Singapore Copywriter
Eddie Jackson BBH Singapore Operations Director
Christopher Leow BBH Singapore Editor
Sudhir Pasumarty BBH Singapore Digital Design Director
Sean Thambiah BBH Singapore Digital Producer
David Webster BBH Singapore Managing Director
Yashanti Yap BBH Singapore Junior Copywriter

Why is this work relevant for Innovation?

Running Stories is a first-of-its-kind platform. It combines entertainment, audio and fitness, while incorporating real-time data to create an immersive experience. It makes you the protagonist in a gripping story, your own ultimate personalised adventure. Everyone knows Netflix, Spotify and running trackers, so this innovation is not in the tech, but the fact that it’s the first to merge these different technologies, typically made for passive consumption, into one immersive storytelling platform. It aims to become a revolutionary format for entertainment on the go. The initial reviews by runners and press prove there is a huge market for this offering.

Background

We discovered a neglected audience of casual, unmotivated runners, who struggle to make running a consistent habit. After all, running can be boring. For that reason, they use audio apps to train - podcasts and music apps - as a form of distraction. We decided to create something interactive and exciting that encourages them to put on their running shoes, and help them create a habit. That’s how Running Stories was born. Running is the simplest way to kickstart healthy living, and has multiple benefits, like reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases by 45% and helping you live longer. In 2020, as all of us were put into lockdown, the WHO advised people to go out and run to help cope with stress and anxiety. It became the perfect moment to launch Running Stories, as people were more willing to get out of home for a breath of fresh air.

Describe the idea

Let’s be honest, running can be boring and monotonous. That’s why we created Running Stories. It mixes storytelling, fitness and audio like no other platform has done before, and it casts you as the protagonist of a gripping story by using real-time data. As a result, you get to listen to an augmented audio narrative that integrates with your surroundings and keeps you ‘enter-trained’ on runs. The plot points in the story are triggered as runners pass GPS markers and landmarks. Designed for beginners or seasoned runners alike, each story is made of binge-worthy episodic storylines that keep runners hooked and motivated to head out on the road for more.

What were the key dates in the development process?

Ideation & Prototype: November 2018 - First prototype April 2019 - Alpha prototype July 2020 - Closed Beta prototype Launch & Pitches: 10 October 2020 - Open Beta launched on iOS App Store (with a Singapore route) 13 November 2020 - Global PR launch 19 November 2020 - Start development of enhancements to include day, time, and weather for dynamic storytelling December 2020 - First round of pitches to potential partners 13 January 2021 - Start of Android build Future Milestones: February 2021 - Final integration of weather, day and time APIs for more dynamic storytelling, and completion of Android build Q2 - Q3 2021 - Launch one-story-two-cities prototype in NYC and Singapore Q2 - Q3 2021 - Scalable storytelling prototype powered by text-to-speech technology and artificial intelligence Q3 - Q4 2021 - Bespoke whitelabelled applications with select brands

Describe the innovation / technology

How it works: Stories are told on a route using GPS trackers that are in-built in all phones. We turned these GPS markers such as landmarks, shops and streets into story data points. We created an app that controls this through a CMS backend that pushes hyper-localised custom audio tracks each time you pass our curated GPS markers. Runners will be treated to a tailored immersive experience through engaging storytelling each time they pass a GPS marker in real life. - Devices: iPhone 6s or later - Platforms: iOS 11.0 or later / Android version coming in February - March 2021 - Development stage: Open Beta

Describe the expectations / outcome

Running Stories has been covered by top international news and technology press, such BBC, Mashable, GQ, and Esquire, and also gotten positive reviews from top professionals in the tech industry. We have gotten interest from runners and running clubs globally - from London to Iowa, from Oman to Paris. Big international brands in sports, entertainment and technology have also expressed interest in collaborating and investing. In the upcoming 6 months, we’re building a smarter app by integrating more APIs to pull live data, and developing text-to-voice tech - powered by AI - to make it simpler for content creators to generate runnable stories for any route anywhere, turning it into an open source entertainment platform. We are planning for ‘multiplayer stories’, where runners play different characters and can interact with one another within the same story, and integration into wearable tech. These demonstrate the endless possibilities of this never-seen-before product.

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