MOMO is the best Public Sector Product in Scotland!

Two weeks ago Mind Of My Own was one of 12 winners at the ScotlandIS Digital Technology Awards, in an evening celebrating excellence in businesses and organisations in the digital tech industry.

The awards were held in Glasgow with two of our team travelling many miles to be there to support MOMO on the night. The judging panel represented the best in Scottish digital industry, drawing on their many years of experience to judge across the nominees across all categories.  MOMO was the winner for the Best Public Sector Product/Service.

Over the years the public sector has embraced how technology can advance services and use innovation to increase efficiencies and effectiveness. This category was looking for a business, large or small, which exemplifies how this innovation in technology can help drive public services through the delivery of a specific product. An additional aspect to our win, impressing the judging panel, was the growth MOMO has seen within the last five years since its beginnings in 2013.

For those new to Mind Of My Own, the MOMO One app gathers and communicates views of young people with special attention to those with increased vulnerabilities. MOMO Express, which was launched in January of last year, caters specifically for younger children and those with learning disabilities.

ScotlandIS represents and supports businesses and organisations effectively delivering digital products and services. Into their eighth year, the digital technology awards are seen as the industry’s premier awards, an event we were thrilled to be nominated at. The competition was very strong and winning on the evening came as a surprise that was very much appreciated.

We would like to say a special thank you to all our supporters, without whom MOMO would not have the impact it does on the lives of all the children and young people for whom we provide the service.

For more information on the ScotlandIS awards and all the nominees click here.

ScotlandIS Digital Technology Awards 2018. Radisson Blu Hotel, Glasgow. 26 April 2018. © Copyright photograph by Tina Norris. Contact Tina on 07775 593 830 info@tinanorris.co.uk www.tinanorris.co.uk http://tinanorris.photoshelter.com

 

Our MOMO leads loved our regional workshops

Throughout February and April, Account Managers Hunter and Beatrice ran the first MOMO lead regional workshops in Somerset, Manchester, Newcastle, Cambridgeshire and Havering.

The workshops were a huge success. We had some great conversations around project planning and embedding MOMO within children’s services. It was also a great opportunity for our leads to share useful implementation ideas, discuss common challenges and build a stronger network with others from neighbouring authorities.

The topics we discussed during the day were:

  • Managing your key stakeholder
  • Developing a communication plan that works
  • Embeding MOMO as a business-as-usual practice
  • MOMO’s new implementation resource library

We had a great time hosting the sessions, and some of the feedback we’ve received has been very encouraging as well …

‘The workshop have me specific ideas and tools to implement MOMO in my organisation- feeling quite excited to implement new ideas’

‘Helped to think about stake holders and put timescales/ phases in place’

‘Communication plan helped to identify priorities and actions going forward’

A special thank you to our hosts for their support and to all our lead who attended. We’ll be running our winter regional workshops towards the end of the year!

There must be an Angel and she’s come to join MOMO

The time has come for MOMO to expand its Board of directors, to encompass the broader range of talents and expertise needed to steer the company through it’s next phase of growth. For Jill and Yvonne this growth represents another step in our vision for all children’s voices to be heard, wherever they are. To achieve this we have to continue to innovate and always stay close to our users as we grow and extend the MOMO reach. With all this in mind, our first appointment to the board, marking our new accelerated growth, has to be a very special person.

Mary McKenna is a well known Irish technology entrepreneur and angel investor.  She co-founded successful e-learning company Learning Pool following a long UK public sector career and a spell as a Silicon Valley dotcommer, exiting the business in 2014 so that she could return to working with earlier stage startups and scaleups.  Mary is interested in helping start and grow indigenous UK and Irish tech companies and especially in working with female entrepreneurs. 

She has invested in 6 early stage tech startups to date, 3 with female founding teams. She is one of the Entrepreneurship Experts with the Entrepreneurship Centre at Saïd Business School (University of Oxford), Entrepreneur in Residence at Catalyst Inc (the Northern Ireland Science Park in Belfast), an advisor to several governments, an EU Horizon 2020 judge, a trustee of the Centre for Acceleration of Social Technology and the first ever entrepreneur in residence at St Mary’s College, an all-girls secondary school in the Creggan area of Derry.

Mary was awarded the MBE by Her Majesty the Queen in the 2014 New Year’s Honours for services to digital technology, innovation and learning.

“I’m excited to join MOMO’s Board and team as the organisation begins to scale globally. MOMO has created technology that makes a real difference to people’s lives, it has awesome female founders and a world class team and MOMO’s values and objectives complement many of my other projects and interests in terms of tech for good, co-production, healthtech and social care.  Watch this space!”

We are recruiting! Sales Lead

Are you looking for more than a routine sales role? Are you wanting to make a real difference? Do you want to work for a multi-award winning social tech business and make a positive impact on society? Are you an experienced in sales and looking for a new challenge?

If you are an adaptable, enthusiastic and highly effective sales person come and join MOMO, a fast growing business in the tech for social good sector.

We are growing both in the UK and internationally and now need to increase capacity in our sales force to ensure MOMO continues to expand its customer base.

Working for MOMO is inspiring. Not only does MOMO allow you to play an active part in developing the company’s future, its size also enables you to demonstrate and develop a broad range of skills that a traditional larger company wouldn’t be able to. MOMO is an agile, energetic and a positive place to work. – Natalie, current employee

You will be looking to join a young ambitious company where you can use your initiative, develop your skills and be part of a highly performing, small dynamic team.

Job Title: Sales Lead

Contract: Permanent

Based in: Flexible (UK only)

Hours: Full time

Salary: £30k basic plus bonus

Apply here

Please apply now with a two-page CV and 500-word statement explaining your desire and suitability for the role to recruitment@mindofmyown.org.uk

For a conversation about the role please call Jill Thorburn – Director on 07738087962

Closing date – 5pm, Sunday 8 April 2018

Interviews will be held in London on Wednesday 25 April 2018 in London 

 

 

How MOMO got to grips with the GDPR

 

If the MOMO inbox is anything to go by, preparations for the GDPR are hotting up everywhere. We are just about ready to start coding some of our planned changes into the apps, but this has taken months of discussion and debate as we have pondered how best to improve our processes for protecting privacy, while at the same time not wanting to make the experience of using MOMO apps at all onerous or off-putting.

In basing our processing of data on GDPR-compliant consent we aim to give users genuine choice and control over how we use their data and in so doing we ensure our organisation is transparent and accountable. MOMO will put people at the centre of the relationship and will build confidence and trust.  Viewed in this way GDPR compliance is a great opportunity for us to enhance and reinforce the very reasons for MOMO’s existence.

The latest communication from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) confirms that the UK government has decided to put the lower age for giving consent to 13. While this is good news for those of us who worried it would be set at the higher age of 16, it does still pose a problem and it is one we have shared with other providers of digital services to children and young people in recent weeks.

MOMO apps are designed to give children and young people a voice. In many cases the information they send via MOMO to their worker or trusted adult is important but not overly concerning. In a significant minority of cases however, children and young people use MOMO to raise serious concerns or to report very worrying situations in which they do not feel safe. Some of these reports come from younger children and we are determined that there must be no impediment to those children being able to use MOMO as their safe and confidential communication tool.

Our deliberations continue therefore as we seek to find the best way to enable all children to feel able to use MOMO without impediment, while simultaneously wishing to protect their privacy and online safety in helpful and appropriate ways. The new MOMO privacy policies and statements will be available in advance of the GDPR deadline of 25 May 2018 and will give a comprehensive description of our compliance with the new regulation.

We have found it immensely helpful to discuss and debate these issues both with local authority staff and with other providers of digital services to children, most recently with colleagues from Action for Children and Barnardo’s. In the coming Easter holidays we will also be discussing and co-designing with young MOMO users.  Big thanks again to the people who joined our round table event last November, which resulted in this article in the Guardian and in this short video. If you would like to contribute to the discussion, or if you think we may be able to answer your questions (we’ll do our best!) please do get in touch.

Feedback and stories

We always hear feedback and stories from young people about our apps, and we love it. Our apps are made for children and young people so when we hear how much they love to use them it makes everything worth while.

Below are just some examples of feedback we’ve received from young people via email or Twitter. These are all unsolicited reviews which, for us, make them even more powerful.

I finally found a way to tell someone what was happening to me. I got help

“I love the apps they have helped me express my feelings. Thank you!”

“It got me thinking for myself. Very good app and very easy to use”

“I find speaking in this way much easier. It’s revolutionary”

We’ve also recently heard the story below describing how a social worker in Gloucestershire got on with using MOMO.

How do you introduce MOMO to young people?

I showed the app on my phone to a 12 year old in Starbucks over coffee and gave her the little wallet sized card. She didn’t use it straight away so I went through it again with her. We did a test MOMO statement so she was comfortable with it and I spoke to her about it with her pastoral care in school. I also sat with her sister (16) at home, I talked her through downloading the app did a test run and she hasn’t stopped MOMOing since! 

How is MOMO helping your practice ? 

I can know what these young people are thinking and feeling despite having a lack of time to go out and see them. I can get their views for ICPC which is really helpful. I get to hear in the moment what is going on rather than them having to wait to tell me when they aren’t upset.

What have the benefits been for the young people who regularly use MOMO?

For one she can talk to me when she is upset and angry with her family and feels she can get it off her chest. She has told me it’s good to feel she is telling someone when it feels bad for her not after the moment.

Do you have any tips for Workers ?

USE IT!!!! try it, think who will benefit from it, do a test MOMO statement then children realise it doesn’t take time to do it. encourage them to use it each time as it saves you (their worker) time travelling and chasing up children’s views.

We love hearing this kind of feedback and stories from our users. If you have any you’d like to share then please let us know at hello@mindofmyown.org.uk.

Co-production and participation – alive and kicking

From a mindfulness in schools mini hackathon

Innovative methods in participation

(A personal view)

I have been reading recently that the ‘old’ ways of co-production and participation don’t work in the tech environment and they should be replaced with user centred design and design thinking. I have to disagree.

First of all co-production and participation are still considered new ways of working in some sectors in this country and overseas – in some places they have barely gained traction and can’t possibly be seen as old. Co-production and participation represent something fundamentally important, which is that end users, service users, citizens, have a voice. Ordinary everyday people, some of whom may otherwise be marginalised and excluded – get to have an influence on the very products and services they buy and consume. Hoorah for that.

I am a big fan of user centred design and design thinking – I simply cannot see that these approaches are incompatible with co-production and participation. Last year in the UK, colleagues and I led and took part in one national participation conference with young people who use mental health services, two co-production days with young people who use social care services (see earlier blog) and, in New Zealand, participation workshops in residential care and  youth justice establishments. The highlight was co-producing with over 60 children in care at an Auckland theme park. In all of these sessions we employed user centred design approaches and the outputs reflect that.

My point is that if the ‘old’ ways used by workers in the public and community sectors are not helping us design useful and delightful tech products that end users actually want and enjoy, then the methods just need a little tweak. Remember all those participation projects of the past ten years have been run by dedicated people on practically non-existent budgets, and, in the early days, in the face of opposition from bosses and managers. Though highly skilled and innovative, participation workers have not had the benefit of UX training and resources, but in my experience they would jump at the opportunity and would be receptive to working in partnership with design thinking experts.

So let’s not sit in a lofty tech tower looking down on the unfortunates who don’t know as much as we do. Share experience and expertise – the public and community sectors will be receptive and what is more the design thinking experts might learn something from them too.

Yvonne, product owner at MOMO

A look back over 2017

It’s that time of year when we look back and reflect and what a year 2017 has been for Mind Of My Own.
It began with the launch of MOMO Express, which has turned out to be a great hit and is being used regularly by children as far afield as New Zealand, helping children as young as three and those with a learning disability to participate in their care and have their views heard. Read more about the first half of our year here
In the summer things were hotting up (unlike the weather)and we recruited our next account manager to help manage demand and keep our high standard of customer care. Beatrice, who had been the very successful MOMO lead for Havering, joined us in August and has helped us greatly to improve the advice we can offer for successful implementation of MOMO. Around the same time we moved further north with Perth and Kinross going live and leading the way for MOMO in Scotland. We have been super impressed with the priority given to the voices of children and young people there. 
As it is four years old now, we started a major piece of work reviewing One app and creating a vision of its future with groups of young people in Lancashire, Sunderland and Auckland. They gave us loads of insights on utility, functionality and design what they like and their ideas of what they would like to see changed, so look out for these improvements over the coming months. 
In October, we were very glad to be working with the charity EDAS (Essential Drugs and Alcohol Services). Theirs is an organisation that provides care and support for those including young people, carers, criminal justice clients, through-care and aftercare clients, clients with medication issues, pre treatment and assessment for people aged 10 85 plus. 
Autumn continued to keep us all extremely busy. A record number of customers went live in November keeping Beatrice and Hunter on their toes in getting all six off to a flying start. We started working with our developers, Neontribe, to internationalise the code for the apps as we have received so many enquiries from non English speaking countries about using MOMO. We gained a new member of our team: Ian joined the business development team to help manage all the enquiries. In an epic week in November we were successfully re-inspected for our ISO 27001 accreditation and a few days later received the CYP Now 2017 award for improving services to children in care. This meant party time for team MOMO and we were joined by some of our great customers there too!
As the snow arrived at the Welsh office we were beavering away to make arrangements to take MOMO to Australia, starting in Queensland and New South Wales early in the new year with a full schedule of meetings. Team MOMO is growing once again as we welcome Amanda, our first international account manager, joining us in early January. 
Meanwhile we are working hard to make sure we are ready to launch MOMO for schools in January. This new service has been developed in response to the high levels of service requests from teachers wanting to use MOMO apps to help them better understand the lives and views of their pupils. Watch this space for further news on how MOMO for schools will work. 
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our customers for your support in 2017 and we very much look forward to to seeing you all in the year ahead. Happy New Year!

Social work models and MOMO

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Back in 2014 when we first started talking to social workers about a new app that would enhance their practice, little did we know how far and wide it would go. We still spend a lot of time talking with social workers. We recently asked about social work models of intervention and how well MOMO apps have aligned with these. Their answers differed depending upon which part of the world they were from but we were glad to hear how MOMO apps fit with disparate professional practices.    

Signs of Safety

The Signs of Safety (SoS) model was developed in the 1990s in Western Australia to support risk assessment and safety planning in child protection cases. It is now used extensively throughout Australasia, North America and Europe. SoS helps practitioners across different disciplines to work collaboratively and in partnership with families and children. It is now used in many of the organisations using MOMO in England.
 
One of the principles underpinning this approach is that personal relationships are fundamental to enabling effective safety planning and intervention. We always promote MOMO apps as enhancing the quality of the direct work between worker and child or young person. The One app encourages young people to think in ways which align extremely well with the SoS model. Each scenario helps them structure their thoughts and consider what is going well in their lives, what they are worried about and what they would like to happen to make life better.
Express finds creative ways for practitioners to help the child share their important information rather than relying on the views of the adults in their home lives or professional interpretations of their behaviour. It can be incredibly powerful for a child with learning disabilities to be able to tell you that things are not right’ at home and for their workers to finally hear their voice.

Family Group Conferences

In New Zealand family group conferences are used when working in care and protection and youth justice. A family group conference is a formal meeting between family members and other officials such as social workers and police to discuss the care and protection or criminal offending of a child or young person. The structured decision-making process, led by a co-ordinator, results in a family plan’ to address the problems identified.
 
The child’s views, feelings and solutions are as valid as those of the adults participating in the process and this is where our apps (known always in New Zealand as Mind of my own, since the word MOMO has an offensive translation) come in. Social workers have been using Mind of my own to gather the views of children about how they see their lives, their assessment of risk and their wishes and feelings.
Children as young as three years old including those with learning disabilities have been using the Express app, while young people including those approaching adulthood have used both One and Express. Social workers receive much richer information and are able to get to know their children in much greater depth as a result . One worker who has known their young person for a significant time expressed surprise about how much information she found out when they worked through Express together. Being able to gather directly from children their views of the world, including their safety, has made it easier for the family group conferences to develop robust child centred plans as well as to hear children’s views loudly and clearly.
 
Practitioners have told us about young people being able to tell their story through using the apps when they had been unable to do so previously. Some of these stories have revealed abuse hitherto unknown or previously suspected.

Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC) 

GIRFEC is the national approach in Scotland to improving outcomes and supporting the wellbeing of children and young people. The approach is designed to support children and their parents to work in partnership with services that are there to care for and support them. A fundamental aspect of GIRFEC is the set of eight wellbeing indicators referred to as SHANARRI Safe, Healthy, Achieving, Nurtured, Active, Respected, Responsible and Included. Children’s plans are considered across each of these areas to ensure that their wellbeing is promoted and their needs met holistically.
 
In Scotland we see a very strong focus on improving the voice of the child within care planning processes to help them feel included and empowered. Since the whole point of our apps is to ensure children and young people are included, have their voice prioritised and for them to actively participate in decision-making, this feels like a very good fit.
 
MOMO Express specifically asks for the child’s views on their health, education and safety in an enjoyable way. It enables younger children and those young people with an intellectual or learning disability to develop a personal profile (‘all about me’) that helps practitioners to get to know them well.

Social work models and MOMO

Over a third of local authorities in England and increasing numbers across the UK are using MOMO. Through the MOMO communities online and at our national and regional events we have a good sense of what works in getting young people’s voices really heard. It is fantastic to know that our apps can enhance practice from Northern Ireland to Australia, Scotland to New Zealand and that is why we have invested this year in internationalising’ our code base, but we’ll explain that in a later blog!

MOMO wins Children and Young People Now Award 2017!

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We are proud to announce that Mind Of My Own was one of 23 winners at the CYP Now Award 2017, in an evening of celebration for the children’s sector.

Chosen by a panel of professionals and young people, MOMO Express was the winner of the ‘Children in Care Award’. This category was for an organisation “that has done the most to improve outcomes for looked-after children, whether in residential care, foster care or other types of placement” (CYP Now 2017).

MOMO Express was released in January 2017. It is designed to gather the authentic views of younger children and those with learning disabilities. If you’re new to MOMO Express (or MOMO One), you can find out more here.

In our last blog post on the subject we took a looked at our fellow finalists. The competition was very strong and on the evening we were surprised, but delighted, to end up as winners.

The Children & Young People Now Awards have become the gold standard for our sector and we are honoured to have been recognised. This will be the fourth year in succession that Mind of My Own apps have been recognised by Children & Young People Now – winning in 2014 and Highly Commended in 2015 and 2016.

A special thank you everyone who has supported us over the years. Without your support MOMO would not reach the young people who need it. All of you have helped us to be recognised through this award.

Click here to find out more about the awards.