Like it

3/6/2019

Making digitalization valuable for kindergartens

The "Care App – an initiative of NIVEA" brings parents and nursery school teachers together to focus on the most important: The child. The application is designed to facilitate communication and organization in the day care centre. The development of the current version, which is led by the in-house start-up Care, started last spring. The app was then ready for the market in January 2019. Right from the start, test users provided important impulses and helped shape the structure and functions of the app. Originally, the app was developed to support our own kindergarten. Solutions for authentic needs were found and parents and kindergartens tested the tool under real conditions in everyday kindergarten life.

Families and role models are subject to constant change. In kindergarten, the most diverse life plans come together, because each parent shares the love and enthusiasm for the development of the offspring. Unfortunately, purposeful communication is often neglected in a hectic everyday life. Both mothers and fathers wish to be involved. They want to take part in activities and maintain the exchange among each other – even if, or just because, they cannot be there every day.

This was also shown in discussion rounds held by the "Care App – a NIVEA initiative" team in advance to bring parents together in authentic and controversial conversations. The insights and statements gained in this context not only served to sound out the field of tension and topics the digital application was intended to address, but also found their way into a short video: Full-time mothers and mothers working full-time, fathers on parental leave and single parents talked about family life and their challenges – but also about personal matters such as bullying and nutrition. "Parents ask themselves so many questions. The dialogue made it clear that even if convictions point in different directions at first glance, a closer look reveals that mothers and fathers want to support each other, are curious about other opinions and life plans and need each other," explains Ina Eberz, co-founder of the Care project.

Digital helpers urgently needed for nursery school teachers and parents

For kindergarten teachers, on the other hand, it means additional effort in order to be able to ensure the flow of communication. In everyday life, they juggle between excursions and reports, allergies, preferences and the pick-up rhythms by different family members. A challenging task! The digital transformation promises relief and should also find its way into nurseries, but they hardly have the resources to introduce digital systems, arguing that data protection is a complex challenge. "The Care App has the potential to make everyday life easier for nursery school teacher and parents. It helps them to focus on the most important thing – the child," says Martin Böhm, Chief Digital Officer, who accompanied the project from the very beginning.  We store all generated data exclusively on German servers and have taken numerous measurements to ensure the best possible data protection," explains Matthias Freese, co-founder of the Care App.

Communication at eye level that involves everyone

The new “Care App – an initiative of NIVEA” – fills a major gap. The intuitive application offers all parents and their individual lifestyles a place of exchange. What is the upcoming event? Who is involved? And which childhood illnesses are just making the rounds again? Everyone is in close exchange with each other and can participate – whether in form of ideas for the next summer party or the birthday present for the educator, whether in the morning or evening, whether from home or during lunch break. "We understand the 'Care App' as an interface that enables an important dialogue and includes everyone," says Ina Eberz. The declared goal: to create solidarity. "Understanding and togetherness among the families as well as parenthood are strengthened, while at the same time the nursery school teachers receive support", says Eberz. The day care center saves time in administration, documentation and organization, because all important information is assigned to the children and available at all times, while the app can also be connected to existing systems. In addition, the digital solution enriches family life with news, calendars and focused chats – annoying to-dos and missed appointments are replaced by shared solutions and a sense of togetherness. "We believe that digital innovation must add real value. With the NIVEA Care App, we support the people who are closest to our brand: families and children," says Matthias Freese.

Care makes our daily work easier. Especially comunication with parents is easier and faster. We are convinced that Care is a great addition to kindergartens.
Corinna & Kerstin, Educators at Anne-Frank-Kindergarten Sandhausen, Germany

Rooted in Beiersdorf's corporate culture and history

The focus of the “Care App – an initiative by NIVEA” is innovative and yet not a new idea at Beiersdorf: For more than a century, high-quality childcare and the compatibility of family and career have been a high priority in corporate culture. As early as 1898, Dr. Oscar Troplowitz, who led Beiersdorf between 1890 and 1918, founded a breastfeeding room for mothers, which developed into one of the first company kindergartens in Germany, as the name of the former pioneer project, "Troplo Kids", still recalls today. This part of Beiersdorf's history is a role model and blueprint for companies, a catalyst of social change, a major advantage in the competition for employees, and has had a positive influence on the everyday lives of countless families. "We are proud of our history and want to live up to our responsibility in the digital future as well. The development of the new NIVEA Care App is the result of this project," says Martin Böhm.

Agile work: fresh thinking every month

The NIVEA Care app is the result of the work of the internal start-up Care, which has dedicated itself to accelerating processes in the development of digital innovation. Before the kick-off in spring 2018, Ina Eberz and Matthias Freese, New Business Manager Digital, pitched to the CEO and Supervisory Board. Since then, the implementation has been worked on at full speed. Project management and all associated steps are continuously being questioned and rethought. The Care Team and developers worked according to the Scrum and Kanban method and without any milestones. "We are an agile company that has implemented the opportunities and dynamics of start-ups. Therefore, we were not afraid to think out of the box, work agile, discard ideas and rethink them," says Eberz. The software package has been available on the German market since January 2019. Parents can use the package free of charge as soon as their nursery school has introduced it. Day care centres can sign up for a monthly subscription, the price depends on the size of the facility and the number of children – starting at 25 € / month. With this deliberately low price, day care centres with limited financial resources should also have the chance to use an innovation such as Care.

The app can be downloaded here (in German only):

iOS App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/de/app/care/id1447501714?mt=8

Android Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.beiersdorfgroup.care&hl=de

Website (in German only): https://www.care-app.de/

Djordje Lukovic

About the editor: Djordje Lukovic

Djordje is responsible for Beiersdorf's corporate digital presence taking care of corporate Social Media, websites, advertising, analytics, and content steering. He is always in the loop with the latest trends and keeps an eye for the digital opportunities for Beiersdorf.