On 7th November, Rachel & Fiona met Ross Tuffee from DOGFI.SH Mobile who are based on campus in the Stirling University Innovation Park (SUIP). Back in 2014, Rachel had discussions with DOGFI.SH about creating a research app and since then DOGFI.SH have kept coming to the attention of the Research & Enterprise Office, most recently with their award for Best Mobile App at the Herald Scottish Digital Business Awards 2016.
Who are DOGFI.SH Mobile?
DOGFI.SH Mobile are a software company, set up by brother in laws Paul Burrows, who is the technical mind and Ross Tuffee, the business mind. DOGFI.SH Mobile specialise in building mobile software for large corporations, utilities, health, hospitality, and travel organisations.
Established 8 years ago, with the iPhone in its infancy, Paul and Ross recognised an opportunity in which they could provide insight to large corporations on how they could harness mpobile and use it to their benefit. Setting themselves a timescale of 9 months to set up the business, DOGFI.SH secured two large contracts and since then has continued to grow.
From a virtual organisation operating remotely to their offices at SUIP (Unit 18) two and a half years ago, DOGFI.SH now has 40 employees spread across U.K., Europe and Mumbai. Ross described the benefits of being located on the University of Stirling campus as enabling the company to tap into the valuable University resources (beyond the beautiful campus itself), such as the Santander Internship Scheme, of which DOGFI.SH have hosted 4 interns, hosting student projects and university alumini who have become DOGFI.SH employees. With these benefits Ross is keen to encourage more opportunity for DOGFI.SH to engage with the University’s student and academic community.
Behaviour Change Apps
Part of DOGFI.SH’s development involves a focus on behavioural change apps that encourage or nudge you to change rather than simply providing information. Ross noted DOGFI.SH’s most notable achievement was the Sugarsmart App created for Public Health England, which with 2.5 million downloads is their most downloaded app.
The app allows the user to scan the barcode of the products and graphically demonstrates how much sugar they contain.
Not limited to individuals, behaviour change apps can also be applicable to businesses who need to become more resilient (e.g. to terrorism, transport disruption, flooding etc) and encouraging them to create platforms for resilience rather than to focus on getting out of the crisis as it happens.
Future work involves a new partnership to develop an app for young people, on the edge of care, which provides resources outside of hours and can be used to understand consequential behaviour .
Working with researchers
Having worked with Sheffield University and UCL, DOGFI.SH are keen to expand their network believing that innovation comes when SMEs work with the academic sector and can approach government with stronger ideas when they go with the appropriate academic. DOGfish are keen to work with researchers, appreciating that in order to have maximum effect with their apps, the work needs to be based on academic research. An area that DOGFI.SH are really keen to tap into here at Stirling is Behavioural psychology, with DOGFI.SH able to bring the expertise on how to use a mobile device to collect and share data; the intellectual art of the possible; how mobile devices can change behaviour and the understanding of what is behind social networks, connection into the world of what is happening now. Any researchers interested in chatting to DOGFI.SH about how they can help, or have ideas about what could be done or are interested exploring further how they can join forces for a particular project/ application should get in touch with DOGFI.SH via email, phone or simply visit them at the office in Unit 18 at Scion House.
Ross discussed the importance of student engagement to DOGFI.SH, whose previous experience includes ‘Lunch with a Leader‘ as part of the Student Enterprise Programme, MSc dissertation projects and StirHack, a hackathon organised by Craig Docherty in CSM. DOGFI.Sh are keen to extend this engagement through graduate apprenticeships and helping students to understand what options are available to them to work in business. Ross’ advice to student entrepreneurs is to “do it and do it quickly. Take the relevant investment and grow quickly. Talk about your idea, it’s never been easier to start a business – Go for it!”.
Stirling University Innovation Park, Unit 18, Scion House, FK9 4NF