For 20 years, Techpoint has highlighted the best past technology projects in Indiana through the Mira Awards. The award show is named after a star called Mira, the first star to be observed giving off light of changing intensity. Every year the awards show nominees and winners get bigger and brighter as Indiana’s tech innovators get more support and interest on a national level. Crafted Labs is honored to be among the nominees for the Mira awards on Saturday April 13. In the category of Innovation of the Year, we are also excited to be part of the only group nomination. Along with Counterpart and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana, we are nominated for development of The Big App. This digital product has revolutionized the way Big Brothers Big Sisters engages volunteers and helps Bigs build lasting and impactful relationships with their Littles. Here’s how we leveraged collaboration to make this project bigger and better than any one group could have achieved alone.
The Vision for The Big App
For more than 100 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has facilitated relationships that strengthen every child’s innate ability to succeed. This organization is the nation’s biggest donor and volunteer supported mentor network. The Central Indiana chapter realized that one barrier to attracting and retaining volunteer Bigs was helping them understand how to connect with and support their Littles in ways that matter. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana undertook a Six Sigma Match Intentionality Project with Cummins Inc to assess match satisfaction and strategize ways to improve the mentoring experience for adults and kids. This resulted in a deeper understanding of 12 Thriving Indicators and how they could be mapped to hundreds of local and general activities that lead to growth in kids. From attending sports games to doing science projects or heading to the park, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana had tons of targeted ideas to share with volunteers. The next question, of how to deliver this content to Bigs, led to the idea for The Big App.
The Growth of The Big App
Crafted was brought in on this project after some initial development on the back-end functionality had been completed by Counterpart. As UI/UX development specialists, we reviewed the initial designs and made recommendations and suggestions. One of the biggest was related to creating stickiness in the app. By asking questions about the existing communications process with the Bigs, we learned that volunteers were getting flooded with emails. There was simply too much communication for a volunteer to sift through and judge what would be the best choice for them and their Little.
During the six-month process of developing the first version of the app, we worked closely with Counterpoint and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana to enable targeted push notifications in the front end. This means a Big now gets a few pings a day based on their Little’s age group, goals for personal growth, or something their liaison at Big Brothers Big Sisters finds important. This feature has led to high adoption and high daily usage of the app among volunteers.
The Future of The Big App
In addition to ensuring The Big App was something that engaged users, we also worked together as a trio of stakeholders to design the app as multi-tenant software as a service (multi-tenant SaaS). This means that while the Central Indiana Big Brothers Big Sisters chapter created and owns the app, they can make it available to other branches of their organization nationwide. When Big Brothers Big Sisters went through a recent rebranding, we did a little more work on the front end to bring everything in line with the new standards.
Today, we are extremely proud of the impact this project has made on the communities of Central Indiana, and the impact it is beginning to make in other states as well. Ultimately, it was the combined focus and applied passion of each one of our groups that made this final product possible. We appreciated the opportunity to work to our strength in UI/UX development. We are humbled yet excited to see the achievement of all these teams recognized through this nomination.
See you at the Miras!