The last few months have seen Boogie Mites jump into a new product development project, new content, new audience, right out of our knowledge and comfort zone, and with no budget!
Collaboration has been the winning strategy that has got us to the current product testing phase. There are so many positives that we want to share from the process so far, in particular to showcase the collaboration with Portsmouth University Business Consultancy Project (BCP) Module.
Collaboration for content creation
When Boogie Mites had the opportunity to collaborate with world renowned children’s author Michael Rosen in Spring 2022, we knew that this was a great opportunity to gain wider awareness for the work we do, supporting development of under fives through music.
Our talented founder and song writer Harriet Thomas wrote ten amazing songs for Michael’s recently published poems, and he told us that he thought they were ‘terrific’.
We knew that the music would be most impactful and enjoyed with a video interpreting the songs through movement and drama. And we knew that we should take this chance to develop a long dreamed of Boogie Mites app for home use, so that parents and carers could enjoy the music with their children at home. This in turn adding to the impact on development seen by teachers following Boogie Mites core music programmes in early years settings.
We have been working in collaboration with our partner in India, Nutspace Edtech, developing letter sounds songs and decided it would be great to include these in the app as well. This would link to building strong foundations for literacy and appeal to the market in India as well as UK.
Collaboration for technology developmentNutspace Edtech sister company, Inknuts, supported the app development planning and digital marketing advice for India. We are working with a Portsmouth University final year Computer Degree student, Ezra Hinds for developing the app.
“Building a mobile app which captures the passion and creativity in how Boogie Mites approach early years development has been an immensely rewarding challenge. The tenacity and care for detail of the teams from the University of Portsmouth and Boogie Mites means a wider array of parents and practitioners can be assured their children’s entertainment sets them up brilliantly for the future.
On my own professional development, this project has taught me how to deliver a product which conforms with the style of the existing brand of the business and easily integrates with their existing infrastructure. The experience provided valuable insight into how to use the technical skills I am continuously developing to improve how a business communicates with their customers through their mobile devices.”
Grant support to get the project off the ground
We had one big problem: following two years of pandemic and a funding crisis in the early years education sector, we had no budget for completing content production for this project. However, during August we were able to work with the Get Set Solent Business Support Team to apply for a Get Set For Growth small business grant contribution for the content production, mastering of songs and filming of videos.
Business Consultancy Project (BCP) Collaboration
As an alumna of Portsmouth University Business School, Boogie Mites Operations Director, Sue Newman, was interested to read about the BCP opportunity for local businesses to work with a team of final year business students. The app development project was pitched to Peter Wainwright, Senior Teaching Fellow, BCP Module Co-ordinator at the University in August 2022. He could see that a BCP team could support the testing phase of the app development and the international market research for two chosen international markets: India and Australia.
The project description was drawn up and in October a team of four BCP students Aga (team leader) Andrei, Adnan and Leo were assigned to work with Boogie Mites for eight weeks. Their tutor, Dr Gerhard Bezuidenhout, Senior Teaching Fellow, School of Strategy, Marketing and Innovation, supervised the team.
The BCP process of working with students was new to us, the development of an app was new to us and the testing of an app ready for launch was new to us. Even India and Australia markets were new to us!
We had mostly been involved in delivering local authority funded contracts and teacher training in the UK to date. We started blind and the whole process has been a learning journey. Our Head Office team Sue, Harriet, Lucy and Tasha have met with the student team weekly to set goals for each week and assess the success of the previous weeks work.
The BCP team started with getting to know Boogie Mites products and services. Then they looked at competitors in the target markets. They researched and listed potential partners and strategies for recruiting Ambassadors who would sign up to be co-creators, giving feedback to help us with developing the launch strategy.
This is what they had to say about the project:
On 8th December our BCP student team will present the final project to a team at the University and we look forward to attending this event.
It has been such a rewarding project for the Boogie Mites Head office team. Working with the BCP team has helped to keep us on track with this project and enabled us to plan a launch in India and Australia as well as in the UK. We have particularly enjoyed having an insight from a younger generation and a view that is looking with fresh eyes at our business. Some of the most valuable recommendations have been quite simple observations.
The app development phase November 2022 to February 2023 is all about collaboration with potential customers, who we have invited to become ambassadors to trial the music activities and app functionality at home with their children. Our nursery group customers in the UK are sharing the opportunity with their parents, as are some Local Authority contacts, partners and followers in the UK. We call the ambassadors co-creators because their feedback will shape the final product.
You can read about this ambassador recruitment project here:
Looking back on this project so far and the collaborations that are helping us bring this new product to market, it is really rewarding, motivating and inspiring to have worked in this way. I would recommend it to any business, particularly in the current challenging business climate, collaboration is the name of the game and to be celebrated.
If you’d like to be part of this collaborative project, sign up to trial our app by clicking the button below: