Meet McKenzie: Feat for Airbnb staff profile

McKenzie (left) and Hanna (right) of Airbnb

At the start of February, Feat wrapped up a nine-week, corporate pilot program for Airbnb. The program involved 120 participants from the engineering department in their San Francisco headquarters, as well as members from their Portland and Seattle branches. The participants competed in teams where data (steps taken and hours slept) earned them virtual coins to be redeemed for real rewards. Sushi making classes, blind tastings and visits with food waste company Ugly Juice were all part of translating their healthy actions into group rewards.

Although the participation segment of the program is over, Feat continues to engage with the participants and Airbnb staff in order to get feedback and assess the overall impact. Here is a chance to get to know one of the Airbnb staff and understand who is engaging with Feat.

Meet McKenzie. She’s Airbnb’s Global Culinary Operations Coordinator which means she focuses on food-related aspects outside of daily operations. She’s worked with Airbnb for three years, starting in the Portland, OR office but now working in the San Francisco headquarters. When she’s not cooking, practicing yoga or exploring her new neighborhood in Oakland, she is on the lookout for ways to engage Airbnb employees and foster a sense of community through food. McKenzie first learned about Feat in May of 2016 and was intrigued. “I was immediately interested to learn more about the app that incentivized more healthful behaviours through a collaborative and gamified ‘competition’. While I saw ways that I could benefit from this technology in my personal life, it was readily apparent that this had the potential to be very impactful in the workplace,” she explained.

McKenzie worked with Feat founder Chiara to implement the pilot program in Airbnb and was immediately impressed with the interest Feat garnered in the workplace. “We had more interested participants than we had trackers for,” she said. With the initial surge in enthusiasm, McKenzie saw opportunity for Feat to act as a way to get know one’s peers and reflect critically about one’s food experiences. “Feat proved very effective in affording people the opportunity to socialize with peers outside of their direct team and, in that way, the entire ENG department has become a little more connected,” she said.

While the community aspect of Feat prospered inside Airbnb headquarters, McKenzie was surprised by the outcome of the food reward experiences: the same teams continued to win! While that was great for those on the team, it meant that not everyone in the office had a chance to participate in the food rewards. “The same teams won almost ubiquitously,” she noted. “This is due to the engagement of the individuals that make up the whole. The winning teams remained the most enthusiastic throughout the Feat pilot.” To engage the whole group, even those on teams who didn’t get to redeem rewards, the Feat wrap-up party included a food experience for all participants.

In the future, she would like to see improved technology with more responsive trackers and apps that can keep up with individual technology preferences. “My solitary critique of the Feat product is that the app was not reliable. Participants could not gain the confidence necessary to inspire engagement because it was clear that steps and sleep were not being calculated consistently. Many teams lost interest within a couple weeks due to the ‘buggy’ nature of the app,” said McKenzie. Her observation aligns perfectly with Feat’s next steps. As more pilot programs are being launched, organizations are continually providing insight on how Feat can be improved. Right now, Feat is working hard in product development and will soon have a revamped product that takes into account much of the insight from the previous pilots. Overall, says McKenzie, “I think that Feat can be a spectacular antidote to progressively sedentary lifestyles fueled by food that is neither healthy nor inspiring. Feat is just the opposite; its playful graphics, group dynamics, and out-of-the-ordinary food rituals make it a memorable app that will bridge the gates of the digital by offering the experiential.”

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