Developing an industry first digital learning platform to give children the best start in life.

Busy Bees

Founded 35 years ago, Busy Bees mission is to provide exciting, innovative care for children, in an environment that presents plentiful opportunities for play, interaction and development, at their own pace and in their own space, so that every Busy Bees child can have the best possible start in life.

During their history, Busy Bees have used their experience, to create an innovative childcare experience parents won’t find anywhere else. To help support this ongoing innovation, Busy Bees approached us to help digitise the way their 10,000 practitioners in the UK deliver learning to over 40,000 children each day.


With over 370 settings in the UK and more than 600 globally, Busy Bees wanted to revolutionise the way that they delivered their award-winning childcare to over 40,000 children in the UK.

They had the vision for a digital tool that could be used by practitioners, Regional and Divisional Directors and their National Support Centre teams to empower each and every practitioner with all of the resources they need. UP is a unique learning programme exclusively available for early years practitioners working at Busy Bees nurseries. UP helps them to “Unleash their Potential”, providing them with innovative ideas to promote children’s learning and development and a wide variety of tools to support their professional development.

UP will support practitioners in offering quality care and value to children in their care and their families. It will also increase practitioner confidence during inspections.

Initial scoping and planning for the platform

We divided the features of the application into horizons, giving us a clear product roadmap to ensure we could hit our first delivery milestone.

Our Approach

Following our tried and tested Think, Design, Make process, we first set out to gain a deeper understanding of Busy Bees and, more importantly, the key stakeholders via an Immersion Session and a series of interviews. Talking to practitioners, parents and managers showed us that our product design process had to be driven by making the interaction with UP as seamless and secure as possible. With multiple practitioners sharing the same tablet within a room, we had to find a way for each to log in securely without slowing down the process of getting to the right content.

With over 1,000 pieces of content required for launch, we also needed to create a bespoke CMS that allowed Busy Bees to have granular control for who could access UP and the content that they were permitted to see.

Our process leads us through initial user research, dedicated focus group sessions & value proposition design to iterative ideation & prototyping


The UP platform consists of a web app, native app and API, providing Busy Bees with a future-proofed solution that can be scaled out internationally.

A bespoke, secure CMS allows National Support Centre staff to constantly add new content and features from a central location.

The native applications for both iOS and Android, provide a rich set of content covering audio, video and interactive experiences that allow practitioners to deliver innovative childcare.

In addition to the application for practitioners, there is also a version for parents, allowing them to extend learning at home and on the go.