MOMO, a team of ‘unfearties’

To mark the Scottish Children’s Parliament’s 21st birthday they have created an inspiring and brave band of Unfearties. The word came from Edwin Morgan’s poem. They are calling on us to be unfearties’. I think we need a bit more, we need to build a nest of them! As soon as we saw this movement we, at MOMO, knew we needed to be part of it. 
Here at MOMO we believe that all adults should become unfearties especially for those children who need it the most. Unfearties are people who are courageous in discussing children’s issues, are making a difference in children’s lives, and who are willing to speak up for, and stand alongside children.

An Unfeartie

  • Listens to children
  • Views children as capable and an asset to their communities
  • Strives to ensure children’s voices are heard
  • Challenges infringements of children’s human dignity
  • Helps children learn the values of honesty, empathy, respect and social justice
  • Promotes greater awareness and understanding of children’s rights
Being an unfeartie fits beautifully with what MOMO is all about. We make apps to help young people take action and have their views evidenced and taken account of. We want to help those children least able to have a say to be able to have their views heard. Whether this is a three year old living in an unsafe home situation, or a child in care afraid to say what’s happening in their placement, or the child with additional needs wanting to tell his teacher about something important to him they all can have a voice with MOMO.
We are a nest full of unfearties in MOMO. Perhaps you would like to join the movement too. You should! All you need is passion for making sure children are viewed in a positive way, model pro-social behaviours and stand up for children’s rights.

Our mini tour of New Zealand and Australia | Mind of my own



In April this year we ran a Mind of my own proof of concept trial across two community (‘care and protection’) teams in Auckland, at the request of the new ministry, Oranga Tamariki. Following the success of the initial pilot, we have been invited to run an extended trial across a wider geography and in diverse young people’s settings, due to start 1 November. So the trip to New Zealand was part of our user centred design process. Co-producing our apps with young people and workers to ensure that we use culturally appropriate language and are appealing to children and young people in New Zealand.

Mind of my own in New Zealand

In Auckland we got to co-design with over 60 care experienced children and young people at a theme park event, 8 young people in a care and protection residence and 8 young people in a youth justice residence. Additionally we met with workers from both teams in the initial pilot, hearing their experiences, suggestions and ideas.
Then over to Wellington, where at Oranga Tamiriki main offices we met with senior people involved in the strategic design and planning of services under the new ministry, including those with responsibility for fresh approaches in youth advocacy, youth justice and children’s rights.

Interest and enthusiasm in Australia

A quick hop (or 4 hour flight) to Sydney and we met up with old colleagues now working in community engagement and child protection in New South Wales, followed by conversations with the e-safety commissioner’s office and Clickability, the disability services online directory and review site. In Brisbane we talked with with two government workers with expertise in the health and welfare of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families. From there a two and a half hour drive took us to Southern Cross University for a meeting with researcher Sal Robinson and colleagues.
Everyone we met in Australia was intrigued and excited about the potential for Mind of my own.

Good conversations

During our mini tour we had some informative and profound conversations with a great bunch of diversely experienced people. The topics we discussed include the contribution of Mind of my own in the following areas
  • children and young people’s participation
  • hearing the child’s voice
  • changing professional practice
  • inclusion for otherwise excluded groups
  • support for the voice of those with intellectual disability
  • historic abuse and its impact on current practice
  • e-safety and privacy
  • measuring impact and outcomes
  • cultural awareness and sensitivity.
Good conversations are a great starting point. We will continue our dialogue with the range of new friends and interested colleagues overseas. We hope that children and workers in New Zealand and Australia will soon be using Mind of my own apps routinely in care, health and education services. In the meantime our own thinking has been enriched by the experience and we think that can only be good for our product and its positive impact on children’s and young people’s lives wherever they may live.

MOMO shortlisted for CYP Now Award 2017

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We are very proud to announce that our latest app, MOMO Express, has been shortlisted for a CYP Now Award 2017.

MOMO Express was released in January 2017 and is designed to gather authentic views of younger children and those with learning disabilities. You can find out more here.

This will be the fourth year in a row that Mind of My Own apps have been recognised by Children & Young People Now winning in 2014 and Highly Commended in 2015 and 2016.

This year we are finalists in The Children in Care Award’ category with four other worthy organisations. We know how tough the competition will be this year because half of them are MOMO customers. This speaks volumes about how widespread the use of our apps has become in such a short space of time.

Our fellow finalists …

The winners will be announced on November 22nd at the annual awards ceremony. We’ll be there enjoying the evening and hoping to go home as winners.

For more information about MOMO Express please get in touch at

Remote working MOMO style

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Sitting in New Zealand, planning our co-production workshops with a range of young people and workers, it seems apposite to share some of our experiences of working as a remote team.

MOMO has a head office in central London. The quirky Vestry House sits in the grounds of St Giles Church, right next to Tottenham Court Road Tube. This is where we have secure physical storage for the small amount of paper documents we generate and are obliged to keep, but also where Amanda works every Friday doing our book keeping and finance. Aside from that we use the Vestry for admin and management purposes, while everyone works from their home, also making use of hubs and free spaces to meet up with each other.

We’ve been reflecting on what makes our remote team work and we came up with these five points:

Line management

One of the core principles in MOMO’s mission is to be a good employer. Directors Jill and Yvonne have decades of public sector people management between them and Jill takes the lead on line managing every member of the team through regular individual supervision. We set high expectations, support the team to achieve and celebrate success.

Monthly team meeting

The whole team gets together at least once a month. The dates are set a year in advance and we expect full attendance, of course allowing for holidays and sickness. We make the team meetings productive by focusing on action; we make them inclusive by ensuring everyone is able to share what they are working on.

Weekly catch up

Every Friday morning we have a Skype call with Team MOMO and our development partners Neontribe. We have borrowed the format from Agile method, known as ‘stand-up’, whereby each person in turn says briefly what they have done that week, what they will be working on next week, and what help they need from whom. We try to keep this remote meeting to half an hour.

Daily chat

Our favoured communication channel for staying in touch is Skype messaging. From early morning to late evening any combination of team members are chatting to one another, sharing news, seeking help with issues, or just being sociable.

Good software selection

We use a selection of digital tools that enable us to collaborate and work smarter, including Skype, Webex, Trello, Pipedrive and Realtime Boards. Oh – and occasionally email.

Will we continue as a remote team? Developments for the next twelve months will necessitate a bigger central base than the Vestry, but remote working MOMO-style is one of the reasons for our high staff morale so we won’t be changing it any time soon.

Co-production workshops with children & young people

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This month at team MOMO we have been running co-production workshops with young people from around the UK reviewing and co-designing one of our apps.


Mind Of My Own is all about young people participating and we are committed to their participation in building, reviewing and testing our apps, which is why we use co-production.


In co-production workshops we use established user centred design (UX) techniques to create evidence and insights that will be analysed and coded into the apps. All of this evidence is organised and mapped using specially designed software, so we can have a dialogue with the developers before they start to code.


Our sessions were focused on MOMO One. We wanted to find out from young people how the app’s features and design could be changed or improved.


As always, co-production has given us some amazing results. When we compared what young people want with feedback received from workers, we found a lot of similarity and it has given us some clear pointers for improving MOMO One.


In the coming weeks we’ll be organising each and every thought and comment. We will need to test some of the ideas before we finally begin the process of re-designing our app.


We’d like to say a huge thank you to Lancashire Children’s Services and Sunderland Children’s Services. Both authorities helped us host our sessions and got together a fantastic group of young people. 


Future co-design sessions will focus on MOMO Express and the MOMO admin dashboard. If you’d like to hear more about how we co-produce our apps with the end user in mind, we’d love to chat. Send us an email to

MOMO update: The last 6 months (well, a bit more)


New year, new staff

The new year began with two new faces to Team MOMO; Hunter joined us to lead on customer support and Natalie started as our new sales manager. Both Hunter and Natalie left good jobs in the digital and business sectors in order to work in tech for good. They share MOMO’s commitment to working to help children and young people.

MOMO Express launched

 Development on our second app, MOMO Express, was completed in January. Organisations immediately started to sign up and adopt it as a tool to help younger children and those with a learning disability to participate in their care.

End of an era

At the end of April Joe Roberson, co-founder of Mind Of My Own and originator of our first app, left his role as co-director and general business manager to pursue other life goals. Joe had been the face of MOMO for a long time. He was well known by many of our colleagues and friends in both the social care and tech industry.

Kia Ora New Zealand 

Early in 2017 MOMO was contacted from the other side of the world. Oranga Tamariki is the name of the new government department in New Zealand dedicated to the wellbeing of children. After much negotiation late in the evening UK time and early morning in New Zealand, Jill and Yvonne flew over to Auckland at the end of April to start a proof of concept trial of our apps. The initial pilot was a success and will be followed by a more extensive trial lasting into 2018. 

Design thinking

More change was afoot when service designer Manjul was offered an ace job elsewhere in the digital world. Manjul had overhauled the MOMO website, supervised the making of our introductory video and led the development of Express. She taught us all how to use ‘design thinking’ not to mention the correct way to write on a post-it!

Top 100

No sooner had our first year as Nesta/Observer New Radicals come round, it seemed, than we had been recognised again. Public named MOMO as a top 100 influencer helping to drive change in the public sector through the use of technology. We are proud and grateful to be selected and recognised for all of our awards.

MOMO grows

As we continued to grow in the first half of the year we needed to take on two new staff. Beatrice joined Hunter in customer support in August having led the successful implementation of MOMO in the London Borough of Havering.  We are currently recruiting a sales lead to join Natalie in September.   

MOMO One is four years old!

The time has come for our first app to have an overhaul. We have been researching with young people the ways in which the app needs modifying and updating and the development to code in those changes will start in October. By then Mind Of My Own will have been back to New Zealand and will have made our first visit to Australia.  

That’s our last 6 month (well, maybe a bit more) MOMO update. These are exciting times for us all as we continue to raise the profile of young people’s participation in support services, hearing the voice of the child and changing practice as a result. 

Somerset care council lead the way with MOMO

The more we implement our apps the clearer it becomes that care leavers and care councils must be at the heart of your MOMO implementation.

Almost half of the organisations we work with have asked for help from their young people in one form or another to embed MOMO across their services. Unsurprisingly to us, these are the organisations who have the most success evidencing the voice of the child in their practices.

We’ve seen care councils that have made videos, while others have created leaflets and posters to help promote MOMO.

Mostly, though, we see care leavers becoming ‘MOMO Champions’. They deliver training to workers and talk to children one-on-one and in groups about the benefits of using our apps.

When it comes to care councils encouraging the use of MOMO, Somerset are currently leading the way. Somerset Leaving Care Council (SLCC) and Somerset In Care Council (SICC) have played a crucial role in their recent implementation.

Somerset Leaving Care Council & Somerset In Care CouncilThey have not only created an encouraging and informative MOMO page on their site – check it out here, we love it! – but have also included a huge link to it on their home page. This means there’s no way a child or young person in care in Somerset can miss it.

The team also deliver training sessions and floor-walk with workers to make sure frontline staff are comfortable using their new tools.

What we love about the SCC MOMO page

It tells you clearly what MOMO can be used for and why it is valuable to young people.
They’ve included links to the Mind of My Own help page.
It shows you how to download MOMO One.
There are quotes from children and young people in Somerset about how they value the apps.

Some of the quotes they’ve included are:

“I thought it was easy to use. Liked it, would help me decide what I want to say”

“It got me thinking for myself, very good app easy to use”

“I’ve had a little play around with it and I think it would help a lot of young people if they feel they can’t express their views through talking they could use the app”

It’s working!

The best part of this implementation strategy is that it’s working. Somerset are in the top 10% of organisations who have received the most MOMO Docs expressing children’s views and feelings.

The MOMO team would like to say a huge well done to Somerset Children’s Services and, in particular, SICC and SLCC. Keep up the great work.

MOMO apps are transforming practice in local Government

Mind of My Own (MOMO) is delighted to be named by Public as one of the top 100 companies transforming practice in local Government organisations.

Public intend to make the UK a pioneer of digital transformation by helping technology start-ups who are transforming public services. Their top 100 list details the leading GovTech companies beginning to transform the public sector.

“Public 100 list presents the UK’s most interesting product-led GovTech companies which have traction in the public sector. These are the companies that are transforming (rather than merely fine-tuning) government practices.”

We have been named alongside companies we admire like Liquid Logic, Future Gov and Citymapper. You can see the full list on page 17 here.

MOMO apps are transforming practice so that participation is a reality for all children and young people. Our apps help children and young people who use services have their voices heard by designing digital tools with end users in mind.

Implementing MOMO: 4 tips to implement MOMO successfully in your organisation

As part of our trial in New Zealand we researched how organisations implement MOMO successfully and wanted to share our findings.

Below are 4 key actions taken by the most successful organisations using MOMO. We used these 4 techniques when we trialled MOMO with 18 social workers on the other side of the world. As a result Oranga Tamariki has received an amazing 148 MOMO Docs in the first 21 days!
We hope you find these useful in helping you get the most out of joining MOMO and embedding the change of practice across your services.

1. Keep MOMO in the forefront of mind of workers

Spend a short amount of time, as often as you can afford, just talking to practitioners about MOMO. 
Floor walking sessions always prove worthwhile.  Spending just 5 minutes one-on-one with each member of the service every 2-3 weeks will have a huge impact on how effectively they use MOMO.
Ask them simple questions like:
  • Have you used MOMO recently?
  • What went well?
  • What could have gone better?
  • When are you next due to use MOMO?
If they haven’t had a chance to use it ask them if they’re comfortable introducing MOMO to a young person? Do they need any help or additional training? Have they set up their worker account yet?
A phone call is almost as effective as floor walking if logistics prove too challenging. We sit up late at night every Wednesday calling social workers in New Zealand. It doesn’t surprise us that the times MOMO is used most often is Thursday and Friday.
In fact, last week 23 One and Express docs were completed on Thursday alone.

2. Celebrate success

Send a weekly roundup email to all workers celebrating success and sharing positive stories. We do this in New Zealand because we’ve seen it work so well in the UK.
A weekly or bi-weekly email doesn’t take much time to send but can achieve enormous results. 
In your email be sure to highlight the individual worker and the team who have received the most MOMO docs in the previous week. In our experience, people love being named as MOMO hero of the week’.
The most important thing to include are stories where MOMO has been used to give a young person a voice. You will pick up these positive experiences young people have had when you are speaking to your colleagues. 

3. Provide support and training

To implement MOMO successfully you want MOMO to be just how we do business’.
Through our research we know that 95% of organisations who have successfully embedded MOMO deliver training to a significant number of workers at the point they go live’. A further 75% provide ongoing training to ensure all workers are skilled up. 
Our apps are designed to be easy to use so MOMO training is focused on getting workers hands on with their own account. They need to be able to see that the apps are intuitive and so easy to use before they can comfortably introduce them to children and young people.
Most organisations get training from the experts and ask one of our specialist trainers to deliver the training for up to 60 workers at a time. We can also deliver train the trainer’ sessions too so you can skill up a team to deliver on-going training to the wider service.
Having an operational lead or core team with an open door’ policy is crucial. If a worker has any questions or wants to find out more about MOMO then they need to know who they can ask. This local face of MOMO’ is essential although for anything urgent remember they can always email us on

4. Introduce new staff to MOMO

Workers won’t use tools they don’t know they have access to. This sounds obvious but it’s crucial to tell new staff that your organisation uses MOMO apps.
It could be that team managers or champions are best placed to introduce MOMO to your new staff. It might be more appropriate for an operational lead or internal trainer to carry out regular sessions for new (or old!) staff to attend. Many organisations now have apprentices or care leavers who take this role.
The goal is to make sure that all new staff (don’t forget agency staff) receive training on MOMO and know what is expected of them. Clear messages about the importance of the voice of the child and a good induction will make sure new starters are ready to go out and use MOMO to good effect right from the beginning.
Along with good strategic leadership and clear messages of expectations these four points will ensure a successful implementation of MOMO in your organisation. Don’t forget to share any other success factors you’ve discovered with us. We know you are the experts in your area and we love to hear how you have successfully implemented MOMO in your organisation.

Mac & Cheese

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Tower and Scottish flagTeam MOMO headed north last week for our first tour of Scotland. Transport delays meant we rushed across Glasgow just in time to visit Celcis. We were excited to tell them about MOMO apps and that we have our first local authority, Perth and Kinross going live in Scotland next month. Having worked in Scotland previously Celcis stood out as a key organisation that we should speak to knowing the important role they play in ensuring participation for looked after children in Scotland is a priority.

We knew we had a full-on week ahead so had a big bowl of mac and cheese to keep us going that evening. It’s a MOMO favourite. One of the team even had it on our Christmas night out!

Mac & Cheese & NatalieHaving left spring-like weather back home our umbrellas were immediately blown inside out crossing the Tradeston bridge on the way to our accommodation.  We could be seen laughing hysterically at this in the sideways rain!

After a quick early run along the Clyde, and seeing the People’s Palace (one of my favourite places in Glasgow) we headed over to speak to the lovely people in Inverclyde Council to show them the MOMO apps. We heard some great views and everyone was keen to get ‘hands on’ and have a play.

Quarriers villageAs we had a little bit of downtime we went to meet a friend just down the road at Quarriers village. This was Natalie’s first time in the village, which is an amazing place full of history. We enjoyed hearing all about the great work carried out there these days too.  We went to their little restaurant and guess what we had to eat…yep mac and cheese! That night we were privileged to be taken on a tour in and around Stirling and saw the castle and the amazing Kelpies which we both absolutely loved.

Another day and a quick run along the Forth in Stirling where we caught a glimpse of the Wallace Monument before heading off to meet a great group of managers in Stirling Council who gave us lots of brilliant feedback.

Time was tight between meetings that day and summer had arrived. It would have been quite the picture if you had spotted the two of us running full pelt through Stirling dragging our cases to get to the station and across to Dundee. Arriving cool calm and collected both Angus and Dundee Council warmly welcomed us for a joint meeting and loved our presentation. There were excellent questions and debates. We heard some great ideas about how to ‘tartanise’ One and Express apps without losing what they are about.

Dundee WaterfrontHaving a few minutes to spare before our train we took a walk along the impressive waterfront development and took our shoes off for a while. This was the day we clocked up 22,000 steps before getting to our interesting Airbnb in Edinburgh. We weren’t sure whether it was an art installation or a cleaning oversight but there was a half-eaten biscuit on top of the TV. Who only eats half a biscuit? That evening, around the corner we found a great little restaurant and actually did not eat mac and cheese.

Our final day and summer had well and truly arrived. Having walked through the beautiful Meadows in Edinburgh we met with two lovely members of the Children and Young People’s Commissioner’s office to show them our apps. In return we were treated to some Tunnocks Tea Cakes which we loved. A real memory from my childhood north of the border.

Tunnocks tea cakesAs we had literally 30 minutes in our schedule we dashed round the corner from Waverley, past the piper, to catch up with the guys in Edinburgh Council and meet our new MOMO lead there. We were on the move again, enjoying our bus picnic, to Midlothian Council. Once again, we had a great meeting in the loveliest office we’ve seen set in an amazingly pretty garden to conclude our first tour of Scotland.

Tired out we headed back down the country reflecting back on what we’d learned. Every single person we met was totally engaged and embraced the fact that children and young people live in a digital world. Another key theme was that our apps fit beautifully with SHANARI and GIRFEC and we got a great sense that people in Scotland are totally committed to ensuring the child’s voice is heard.

48 people were immersed in MOMO over the four days and without exception they were willing to share their knowledge and ideas on how the apps would work so well to help children’s voices be heard loud and clear at all times.

Bag pipes and playerNatalie and I had a wonderful time and not a single regret about eating mac and cheese twice in less than 24 hours. We will be back Scotland. I learned that the word gets around really quickly north of the border and on the train home I received two requests from other organisations for us to speak to them.

So, part two of the Scottish tour will commence on the 8 August after you’ve enjoyed your long summer break. We look forward to this greatly.

We will be the ones dragging the wheelie cases, probably laughing and definitely seeking out the best mac and cheese in town. Look out for us!