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Oopla can track all kinds of activities – from playing sports to washing the car.
A step change for corporate wellness programmes
Businesses have an interest in safeguarding their employees’ health. Research has shown that physically active staff members are absent less often, engage with work more deeply, and change jobs less frequently than the inactive. Moreover, healthy teams communicate and collaborate effectively, which boosts productivity.
Many organisations have turned to step challenges to help them achieve these goals. Step challenges are popular initiatives that encourage employees to record how far they walk each day and outpace their colleagues. But step challenges aren’t for everyone. Not everyone can walk and there is a range of other activities that could improve employee health. Many businesses that used step challenges were looking for a more inclusive solutions that allowed people of all fitness levels and abilities to participate.
Support to Perform, a Belfast-based corporate wellness company, recognised this gap in the market. They created a compelling new platform that addressed the limitations of step challenges. The result is Oopla – a software platform that creates healthy competition through virtual challenges. The app is available for individuals, but its functionality for teams and how it converts any activity into comparable points sets it apart. You can run, swim, play wheelchair basketball, or do some DIY around the house – Oopla records it all. Its powerful algorithms backed by sports science converts these activities into a standard scoring system. That means employees who choose to play football can compare their activity level to others who choose to work in the garden. The app sets 28-day targets, which drives motivation, and features organisational leader boards to encourage competition.
Support to Perform generated £100,000 through Oopla in its first year and targets growth in the years to come, with at least half of this expected in export markets. Innovate NI has recognised Support to Perform's success with a Platinum Level Innovator Award.
How did they make Oopla a success?
Support to Perform’s CEO, Dr Jonny Bloomfield, saw that step challenges failed to serve the full diversity of people in the workplace. He knew that employers wanted a health initiative that was inclusive yet was as simple and intuitive as step counting. He and his colleagues held a brainstorming session to come up with ideas for solving this challenge.
Dr Bloomfield developed Oopla to address the shortcomings of existing step challenge programmes.
He took these ideas to several existing clients to receive their feedback on which might work best for their organizations. He also spoke to knowledge and technology partners about what was possible. These conversations helped Dr Bloomfield filter his ideas and decide on a potential solution.
Development & testing
Support to Perform developed the initial concept and tested it with a corporate client. The client offered the app to 300 staff for 100 days. Dr Bloomfield conducted surveys with the participants every 25 days to understand how they used the app and to get their feedback. They then developed the prototype and sourced more feedback.
Support to Perform gradually improved their app through a series of these feedback loops. Dr Bloomfield and his team also took part in the Invest NI Design Active and Design Forward programmes to refine the app and perfects its branding.
Support to Perform had engaged with many prospective clients throughout the development process, and many were keen to adopt the app for their workforce. The first significant sale came in December 2020 when Etex, a Belgian company, purchased licenses for its 5,000-strong global workforce. Support to Perform forecasts sales totalling £250,000 in 2023.
Support to Perform’s new app, Oopla, motivates organisations to get physically active.
If Support to Perform has inspired you to put your ideas into action, then get in touch and find out how Innovate NI can help.
The Innovation Accreditation Programme is open to all businesses in Northern Ireland. So, take the first step today – complete the innovation assessment and discover where you are on the Innovation Framework.