Nathan Baranowski, solutions alchemist
Kevin Triggle, design director
Tom Passmore, development director
ojo solutions is a young, dynamic company based in Glove Factory Studios, Holt. The team have a passion for embracing the latest technologies to empower business. From building digital applications to transformational change, they like to place themselves at the cutting edge of technology.
ojo is lead by Nathan Baranowski, solutions alchemist, Tom Passmore, development director and Kevin Triggle, design director. We met the trio to find out more about the business and their work.
How did ojo begin?
Nathan Baranowksi: Tom and I met at university in the late 90s and began building websites as a professional hobby. Mainly for fun, then for friends in return for beer or holidays. After the dot com bubble we started building bespoke web solutions on a small scale in 2008 and in 2012 we brought all of our passions together, took a deep breath and ojo solutions was born.
Kevin Triggle: Nathan and I met through mutual friends. We attended a family wedding together and over several games of pool established we had a lot in common. At the time, I was running my own sole trader business, creating brochure websites. We started working on projects together and after a few months it made sense to bring our companies together and I came on board as design director at ojo.
Nathan, Solutions Alchemist is an interesting title. What do you do?
My work is about understanding business problems and translating them into solutions. The Alchemy is about understanding how and what needs to be mixed together to make it happen.
What kind of clients do you like working with?
Kevin Triggle: I guess the most interesting ones are entrepreneurs with a great idea, but with no idea of how to get it to market or how to deliver it. These projects allow us to really get involved and help shape and develop the idea into a great solution.
What’s the most exciting project you’ve worked on?
Kevin Triggle: We were involved in a great project for a local company called Playforce who design and build educational playground equipment. We built them a Windows-based app, so that they could design playgrounds and schemes for schools out on the road. Enabling their consultants to engage with the client in the meeting, rather than fumbling through presenters and scribbling on paper. It also allowed them to do the work there and then, rather than sending it back to a design team in the office. That involved us creating a full design application that didn’t exist, the raw technology was there, but it had never been put together in that way, especially not in an app and not for that purpose.
It reduced their delivery time on a quote from three weeks of drawing time to a matter of days. This had a huge impact on their business and their customers too. I love how embracing technology in the right way can make such a difference.
Nathan Baranowksi: It is great to hear how impressive in operation the app has been. The project was trying to push the boundaries, there were lots of apps or technologies that we could have tried to manipulate, but actually translating crayon and graph paper into delivering a basic version of what an artworker can do back in an office, for someone who’s not an artworker, in the field, was a real challenge and an achievement.
Tom Passmore: We’ve been working with Corsham Primary School too, on a Virtual Learning Environment. It’s been great to get involved in this and give something back to the local community and work with kids on developing technology.
What projects are you working on currently?
Nathan Baranowksi: We’re doing an environmental children’s game at the moment. Our work is generally in the corporate space, so this is a different project to get involved in.
It’s also forced us to think differently and put our fun and quirky hats on and think about app development in a different way. All the stuff we usually avoid such as noise and whizzy stuff we’ve had to introduce to make it appealing to the kids. It’s been great fun; we’ve created some cool little characters too as part of the project.
Kevin Triggle: We’ve created a mobile application designed to re-invent the recruitment process in the education sector. Cutting out the need for a recruitment company altogether and the large fees they charge, the app allows schools and teachers to find each other directly inside the app. Its recently launched and has currently got over 9,000 people using it and is growing rapidly each day!
Tom Passmore: We’ve also been involved in creating an online portal for a company who specialise in providing financial commentary and investment advice. Their existing processes were very old fashioned and relied heavily on email newsletters and PDF documents. We’ve created a portal which allows agents from around the world to collaborate, create commentary and have it automatically pushed out to their clients in a number of different ways.
The VLE is a piece of software that allows children to share projects and interact online and enable social learning using modern technological tools.
It is like LinkedIn and Dropbox for primary school kids. They can create personal journals, share documents, take pictures and video and share them online with their friends and teacher. It brings the collaborative digital element into the classroom, rather than looking at a flat PowerPoint presentation on a screen and enables the school to take learning beyond the classroom.
Nathan Baranowksi: It was built in a not-for-profit way and is available on the market via a sister company – Blue Turtle Learning. As the idea evolves and we get more schools onboard we aim to develop the product into not for profit social enterprise focused on technology and app development for schools.
Who would be your dream client?
Nathan Baranowksi: My dream client would be the government. I see so much waste going into improvement initiatives and it’s a typical scenario of not embedding change in the real world.
I particularly think ojo could help the NHS. There’s some amazing initiatives going on in the NHS, some great innovation, but because there’s a lack of cohesive change, it’s just difficult. That’s probably a reason why we work a lot in the health and charity sectors. You can make massive differences and to things that matter in life.
To find out more about ojo solutions visit: www.ojosolutions.com
Follow them on Twitter: @ojosolutions