New iPad App Explores the Potential of Mobile Surveys

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Global Pulse is excited to announce its contribution to a unique new iPad app, called “PopTech: World Rebalancing,” which is available now from the Apple app store. The interactive app was developed by PopTech, and incorporates some of the preliminary results from Global Pulse’s Global Snapshot of Wellbeing project, a collaboration with Jana to experiment with replicating the standards of traditional household surveys with new tools.

Global Pulse collaborated with Jana, a mobile platform with a network that reaches over 2 billion emerging market consumers, to develop a set of questions about jobs, health, the economy and technology that were translated into 15 languages, and sent over mobile phones directly to citizens in 23 countries. The Global Pulse/Jana contribution to the iPad app (“Pulse of the Planet”) visualizes more than 75,000 responses—which were collected between August and September 2011.

The larger research is part of Global Pulse’s exploration of best practices in conducting flash polls to gauge changes in populations wellbeing, especially as concerns over impacts of global crises develop. These types of surveys could then trigger more rigorous investigation, and would help to speed up decision making about preventing irreversible harm.

The PopTech app provided an opportunity for Global Pulse to begin visualizing some of the results of the Jana survey. While answers which are visualized in the app are not a representative sample (in fact, some countries only yielded less than 50 responses), this exercise was an excellent opportunity to start thinking creatively about how to present the results of the larger survey, in an interactive format.

A next step for the Global Pulse/Jana collaboration, is to conduct similar surveys over time in order to map the evolution of trends in well-being over time, continue to establish demographic baseline data (including information about economic status, gender, age, literacy, etc.) and to see what works, what doesn’t work and why.

We were honored to have the opportunity to work with Jana, PopTech and a number of other distinguished partners on this app focused on the theme of a world re-balancing by exploring the past, the future, and the real-time now.

Continue reading below for more information, and details about the survey. And click here to download the app and explore for yourself!


What is PopTech?

PopTech is a new kind of innovation accelerator — a community of cutting-edge leaders, thinkers and doers from many different disciplines who come together to explore the social impact of technology and the forces of change shaping the future. PopTech’s one-of-a-kind network includes innovators in wide-ranging fields such as science, technology, green energy, sustainable ecomaterials, violence cessation, design, and the corporate, entrepreneurial and social sectors.

What was the initial impetus for developing an iPad app?

PopTech is focused on innovation in design, technology, and emerging forms of storytelling.  Inspired by the incredible potential of iPad tablets to provide interactive opportunities for learning and expression, we wanted to design an iPad app which used data can help visualize the theme of the 2011 PopTech Conference, “The World Re-balancing.”

What does the app do?

PopTech reached out to several partners to help visualize the World Rebalancing in several different ways. The first visualization, developed by the New York Times R&D Lab, explores the past, and the highly personal and specific ways in which we interpret the world around us.  PopTech reached out to UN Global Pulse to understand what is truly happening around the world right now, via an innovative technology designed by Jana.  And finally, the PwC portion of the app showcases the insight of thousands of CEOs to help predict the future of business. The app was designed by the award-winning experience design firm Hot Studio.


Do the questions go out to the same individuals?  How are individuals pre-screened or selected?

Respondents are screened for demographic characteristics such as age, sex, and location. Our goal is to involve as many respondents as possible, so we try to use different individuals for each survey when possible.

What is the size of the data set used in this app?

The app shows a visualization of 15 questions asked to 5,000 respondents in 23 countries.

Which countries were surveyed, and what is the average number of respondents from each country that are visualized in the app?

Bangladesh (215),  Bolivia (216),  Brazil (268),  Colombia (236),  Egypt (38), El Salvador (131), Ghana (242), Guatemala (148), India (666), Indonesia (440), Kenya (213), Nicaragua (85), Nigeria (495), Pakistan (179), Papua New Guinea (38), Peru (109),  Philippines (450),  Russian Federation (94),  South Africa (197), Sri Lanka (102), Turkey (93), Uganda (152), Vietnam (197)

What are the questions visualized in the app?

  • How many hours per day do you work?
  • What prevents you from finding a better job
  • How do you commute to work
  • How long does it take you to travel to work/school
  • Have you ever purchase goods or transferred money using your mobile phone?
  • Have you ever purchased goods or transferred money using the Internet?
  • How much time did you spend yesterday on the Internet?
  • Over the past year, have you noticed the cost of food rising?
  • Have you changed which foods you buy based on the rising cost of food?
  • Do you plan on saving some of your income this month?
  • Are you optimistic that your local economy will improve?
  • How far did you travel for your last vacation?
  • How did you feel over the past 7 days?
  • Were you sick in the past 7 days?
  • Have you exercised in the past week?

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