13 Jun

John Craig


Best practices for the deployment of mobile workforce management services in government


Ensure staff acceptance to realize real digital workforce efficiency

As the digitization of government services accelerates, the strains of this change have weighed heavily on government workers. The senior staff, largely of the baby boomer generation, are being asked to throw out decades worth of paper driven processes in favor of paperless environments, driven by tablet and smartphone based applications. Junior staff, particularly millennials, are surprised by how far behind government systems are from the video games and apps they have grown up using. For millennials moving from a world designed around easy to use, intuitive UIs, to a form and data driven environment can quickly leave them doubting their future in government service.

Sad millennial

“Fear, uncertainty and discomfort are your compasses toward growth” – Barack Obama

With the launch of our Metro Grove service, we have been at the forefront of developing and releasing mobile applications for use by government employees to enhance workforce efficiency. That experience has taught us some of the best practices on introducing new technology to staff at both ends of seniority spectrum, and at a pace that permits the staff to adapt comfortably, without rejecting the change. Here are some of our learnings:

Massive change invites massive failure

One of the first lessons we share is not to change everything overnight. The introduction of tablets or smartphones alone can be a challenge for staff. Getting the right display and system options configured for all users should be the first step taken and staff should be given time to play with the new devices to get used to how they work with familiar apps such as email and web browsers. This comfort with the new devices will then make new applications easier to consume over time, and ensure those services are not rejected due to a lack of understanding on how the new devices work.

Mimic the current paper process

Senior staff in particular will want the new application they use to very closely mimic the old paper processes they are used to performing. In our experience, with building and safety inspectors, we found developing and deploying forms that skilled users could easily move through as if they were filling in the paper equivalents was required. This will help to ensure full technology buy-in by the senior staff.

Listen to the feedback

After the platform and the applications were rolled out, we then began to get suggestions on how to make the service run more smoothly. This feedback included re-arranging data collection fields so they more closely fit with the activities taking place outside the office. As workers started to embrace the technology and the flexibility our solution provided, they became our best references for how to make their own jobs more efficient.

Wizards for Millennials

While the more senior workers knew what data fields and forms they needed to use from experience, more junior employees benefitted from the introduction of wizards that walked them through the process. Leveraging smart, intuitive interface designs, data could be collected quickly, but also checked for range/bounds errors on the fly ensuring clean data collection by new staff.

Magic Moment: Retiring the paper process

The magic moment for the deployment of our mobile workforce service, was when many of the senior workers stopped using the traditional paper-based forms and started using the wizards to collect the data. They had discovered, largely on their own and in conversation with their junior staffers, that the wizard helped to act as a check on the data they were collecting, and was able to remind them when they had forgotten to perform a step. This allowed the supervisors to build the case to end the paper process enshrined in the first iteration of the app and standardize the organization on the wizard-based data collection. This in turn helped to increase the integrity of the data collected and enhance the efficiency of the field processes significantly, which was the ultimate goal of the digital transition in the first place.

BCSA Mobile App

The Metro Grove Advantage

And so we have designed our Metro Grove service to support paced, methodical deployments of mobile workforce management solutions to ensure a sustainable pace of change for government staff. With the ability to customize the deployment, we can support both old and new approaches to collecting data, and help to minimize the impact on staff during the change. This allows senior employees to adapt steadily and realize greater efficiency, while junior employees can make an impact and get the positive reinforcement they need to stay motivated. Change can be painful, but we have designed our service to minimize the impact and ensure a high level of acceptance by our government customers.

09 Jun

Kevin Wiens


Looking to hire new grads? Put your focus on student-athletes.

Kevin Wiens #3

When compared to my colleagues at 14 Oranges, it is safe to say that I stand out of the pack, and that had turned out to be a good thing. I have spent the last 10 years of my life dedicated to the game of football. It was my passion throughout high school and well into my time at UBC. I was fortunate enough to play for the UBC Thunderbirds (#3) for 4 seasons, while also winning the Canadian college football national championship in 2015. Largely from my performance in that game, I was selected to participate in the 2016 CIS East-West All-Star game that showcased the top talent in Canada for the CFL draft. As you can probably tell by now, I’m not in the CFL … I’m a Vice-President of Sales at 14 Oranges, and this shows how student-athletes have a winning advantage.

When I first spoke with John Craig, our VP of sales and marketing, he informed me during the interview process that he wanted someone with the work ethic of a football player. This is exactly where my athletic experience would translate into the professional world. During the 2015 season for UBC, I experienced countless ups and downs. In week one, I played the best game of my career after intercepting Laval’s quarterback two times. The following week I experienced an all time low, when I was benched for the entire second half after getting beat on a deep route. What football taught me is that you cannot quit when the going gets tough. Fast forward 2 months and I’m starting at defensive back for UBC in front of 13,000 fans in Quebec City playing for the national championship. It’s the memories like these drive my performance and motivation. College athletes develop a work ethic that is hard to find, they learn how to work together as a team, and know that quitting is never the answer. That is the experience I bring to 14 Oranges.

Although it was well established that I would not need a tech background to perform my job, I cannot help but feel out of place. I have never coded, nor developed a software of any type. One of my colleagues, Manu, likes to joke around with me where he will let me press buttons so I feel like I completed a code for his projects. During company meetings where we discuss application development, I sometimes sit wondering what language they are speaking. But all of this is okay, for what I bring to the table is a national championship mindset. With my experience, I continue to work every day to bring clients to my colleagues to develop a top-notch mobile app. Every week I make strides to improve my sales performance and am always seeking to learn more about the tech world. Our team at 14 Oranges is just like a football team, we are all highly specialized each with our own unique skill set. We have the marketing experts, web experts, app experts, and so on. We also share the same values as a football team, which is the desire to win. Everyone here wants to see the company continue to grow into North America’s leading mobile app provider – and that’s a champion mindset I can relate to!

08 Jun

John Craig


CAMA Roundup: Finding the Sweet Spot!

CAMA 2017 Logo

The Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators, or CAMA, met last week in Gatineau, Quebec for their annual convention, and I had a steady stream of booth traffic, all with an interest in mobile-first solutions for solving two municipal issues close to my heart:

  • How to get important information out to citizens in a timely fashion
  • How to enhance the efficiency of government operations
  • Municipal government administrators have a keen sense of urgency. They must temper the expectations of council, and at the same time, marshal the bureaucracy of government to achieve tangible results. As speaker after speaker attested, it’s not an easy job. Even Pinball Clemons, one of the most charismatic and bold speakers I’ve had the honour to enjoy, had to pull out all the stops to share his message of service, and seeking to find the “Sweeeeet spot.”

    PinballClemons-Sweet Spot

    The sweet spot is that moment when the CAO’s job works to everyone’s satisfaction. Council is happy, the bureaucracy is functioning smoothly and citizens are satisfied. He likened it to the swing the Jose Bautista made that preceded the legendary bat flip. After striking out multiple times that game, Jose kept swinging. And when he connected, there was no doubt.

    14 Oranges, to steal Pinball’s baseball analogy, makes bats for CAOs. They are forgiving and easy to swing. They can be customized to add weight, or tempered to be easy to control, but when they are used effectively, we help CAOs hit home runs out of the park.

    07 Jun

    John Craig


    Ag organizations use ASApp to connect with members and save

    CYFF App

    Ottawa, ON (LINK) The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) has developed the Ag Smart-Association App (ASApp), a powerful smartphone app that helps agricultural associations engage their members, save money and generate revenue by providing self-managed mobile application services.

    When offered by national or provincial organizations, ASApp is free to users and is always ‘on’ with real-time notifications. This creates opportunities for the association to connect with its members to: sign-up and renew memberships; register for events; participate and vote during events; access location aware contact directories; access secure log-in areas; and engage in social media feeds, among other functions. It can also give full access to CAHRC-provided employer tools including the AgriHR Toolkit and other staff management tools. Learn more of CAHRC’s ASApp and how it can better serve and connect with organizational memberships at www.cahrc-ccrha.ca.

    ASApp is now being used by both the Canadian Honey Council (CHC) and the Canadian Young Farmer’s Forum (CYFF). For the CHC, there was a business driver behind acquiring the app. “Food safety and biosecurity are becoming increasingly important in terms of food production,” explains Rod Scarlett, Executive Director of CHC. “At the same time the concept of social license has meant responses to issues need to be handled immediately and thus, the CHC app can become a very important tool for beekeepers. It allows for issues to be handled in a medium that is becoming more and more influential. It is quick and easy, yet can provide the detail necessary for a clear explanation.”

    CHC App

    For the Canadian Young Farmer’s Forum, ASApp provides essential communications connectivity. “The CYFF is using the ASApp to connect young farmers with their peers and industry, as well as with their local young farmer organization,” says Guenette Bautz, CYFF General Manager. “It provides beneficial information and links to producers of every commodity, informs producers of industry events and programs, promotes industry events including the CYFF national annual conference, membership awareness and forms, and so much more. The CYFF wanted to offer current technology advances to members that will keep agricultural producers informed and have industry information and updates at their fingertips at all times.”

    There are several things that set ASApp apart from other apps, explains John Craig, VP Sales and Marketing for ASApp developer 14 Oranges. ASApp is delivered in the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model, meaning the app is delivered as a service and CAHRC and 14 Oranges take care of maintaining the iPhone and Android apps against the latest operating systems and devices released by Apple and Google on behalf of customers through three key features.

    The first is a targeted push notification service. This allows the customer’s app administrators to push information directly to the smartphones of their members, with the goal of having members perform real world actions to the benefit of their organization, such signing up for memberships or registering for an event.

    The second is a self-service, web interface for updating content by the customer. This means associations do not have to come back to CAHRC or 14 Oranges to update content in the app, saving them money.

    The third is the support for multiple content authors, allowing a national organization to permit provincial or local affiliates to update information inside the app. This gives the app a highly-localized appeal, helping it to be downloaded and used more frequently as it contains content localized for the member’s region or interest, explains Craig.

    “Each association’s version of the app is customized for branding and functionality, allowing ASApp to adjust menus, content and features as desired,” explains Andrew Hurrell, Business Development and Stakeholder Engagement, CAHRC. “Smartphone apps like ASApp bring the best of your website to your members’ mobile phones.”

    Other organizational advantages to ASApp are cost savings as it retires traditional print and media approaches and brings newsletters, journals, conferences and event programs right to the phones of association members – with all information easily updated by staff via the web interface.

    Increased revenue streams are also possible by using ASApp for advertising directories, sponsor’s offers and benefits, coupons and promotional codes as well as links to web and social media sites to connect sponsors through the app to association’s audience.

    Finally, usage analytics and easy to administer member surveys help to provide important insights to associations about their membership.

    The app design is compatible with both Android and Apple smartphones and follows best practices in mobile user interaction design and usability. As with other mobile applications it is intuitive requiring no end-user training. For more information on CAHRC’s ASApp visit www.cahrc-ccrha.ca.


    The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) is a national, non-profit organization focused on addressing human resource issues facing agricultural businesses across Canada. Industry participation is the cornerstone of CAHRC, working with agriculture industry leaders, governments and educational stakeholders to research, develop and communicate solutions to the challenges in employment and skills development in the agriculture industry. CAHRC leads collaborative implementation efforts in support of the Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food Workforce Action Plan for the sector. For more information visit www.cahrc-ccrha.ca

    For more information contact:

    Portia MacDonald-Dewhirst, Executive Director, CAHRC,
    613-745-7457 x 222 macdonald-dewhirst@cahrc-ccrha.ca

    Andrew Hurrell, Business Development & Stakeholder Engagement, CAHRC,
    613-761-2519 ahurrell@cahrc-ccrha.ca

    Theresa Whalen, Communications & Marketing Specialist, CAHRC,
    613-325-7321 twhalen@cahrc-ccrha.ca

    11 May

    John Craig


    Mobile Apps for Political Parties: Engaging Voters, Donors and Volunteers

    Mobile Apps for Politics

    While political parties and politicians are using Twitter and Facebook to reach their target audience on mobile devices, they are finding their message is simply being echoed back to them, or they are being trolled hard by their opposition, making social media a difficult environment to move political dialog forward in a meaningful way.

    Enter mobile applications as a means of engaging the public in a more thoughtful public dialog, linking in capabilities, such as push notifications that allow political organizations to actively mobilize and build their base in a troll-free manner. In this edition of Plugged-In, I share some of my past experience in working with political organizations, and make the case on why more parties, particularly in Canada, should be looking at mobile apps as a measurable means of engaging the public.

    10 May

    John Craig


    Digital Advocacy with Mobile Apps for Associations, Unions and Non-Profits


    Are you looking for a cost effective, measurable way of engaging your association members, non-profit donor base or union advocates? In our latest Plugged-In podcast, I explore with Liam Verster to how mobile apps are one way to to make the connection.

    02 May

    John Craig


    The Advantages of Mobile Apps for Government Communications


    Mobile apps offer a measurable and direct way for governments to engage, transact and deliver services to the public. I speak with Alex Knight from BCIT on the value of government mobile apps for constituents, including emergency scenarios.

    02 May

    John Craig


    Replace Your Paper Event Program with a Mobile App

    EDCE Tickets

    Events are not just about sharing information from the stage to the attendee.  It’s about driving continuous transactions between the attendees, the sponsors and the event organizers. In this podcast with BCIT’s Alex Knight, I explore the shift away from paper programs to mobile apps at events.

    21 Apr

    John Craig


    Download the EDCE 2017 App

    EDCE Tickets

    14 Oranges is the proud mobile app developer and sponsor of the Entrepreneurial Development Conference and Expo, being held in Halifax on April 28-29, 2017.

    The event is going to bring together some of the sharpest minds in business to share learnings to help business grow in Atlantic Canada. As such, I’m humbled to be speaking on the panel about Marketing Your Business at 7:45am on April 29th, and sharing insights on how mobile has driven audience engagement for governments, associations and businesses.

    Looking forward to seeing you there!

    Android App Download Apple App Download

    20 Apr

    John Craig


    Let Us Port Your BlackBerry App To Apple and Android

    Need to port your BlackBerry App?

    So back in September (2016), BlackBerry announced they had stopped making their own phones and like all fans of the iconic Canadian technology, I went through the five stages of grief.

    Denial: I can’t believe it! No way would BlackBerry do that! The keyboard …
    Anger: It’s a conspiracy, like the Avro Arrow … the government wanted them to cancel this …
    Bargaining: I promise not to never mock how slow the BlackBerry Playbook was again …
    Depression: Life is pointless without a smartphone with a keyboard … I’m going back to a flip phone …
    Acceptance: I’m getting an iPhone 7

    I remember my first BlackBerry, a 957, which I acquired for a step $750 CDN back in 2002. I’ve owned or used just about every BlackBerry product since, and while I haven’t loved them all, I do respect the consistency in the security provided by the platform, and I know a lot of other enterprises and governments have as well.

    And because of this, your organization may still have a number of custom apps developed for the BlackBerry, and now they are quickly approaching end of life.

    Let us help you get that app off BlackBerry and onto an iPhone or Android platform. Give us a call and book a 30 minute discussion with us on how to get it ported quickly and painlessly.