Rocket Learning

Rocket Learning

Meenakshi Garg, Lead – Product, Rocket Learning

In her latest article, Meenakshi explores the challenges and successes of digital transformation in the non-profit sector. She highlights how Rocket Learning uses technology to deliver educational content to young children, demonstrating that innovation is crucial for all organizations. This compelling read shows how strategic digital initiatives and product innovations can amplify impact and inspire change.

In the realm of nonprofit organizations in India, the concept of a dedicated 15-member product team might seem unconventional. Nonprofits are often seen as entities driven by on-the-ground activism and direct change. However, in the post-COVID digital landscape, where accessibility and efficiency are paramount, the role of a robust digital product team becomes essential.

At Rocket Learning, we’ve embarked on a digital journey with a unique WhatsApp and low-tech-based product. Our goal is to deliver play-based activities to 3-6-year-old children, empowering parents and Anganwadi (publicly funded daycare) workers to engage meaningfully both at home and in Anganwadi centers. 

But why such a substantial team for what might seem like a simple product?

Crafting Accountability and Alignment

Our product team is crucial in fostering accountability and alignment. We ensure that key product objectives align with stakeholder priorities, translating them into measurable metrics. This clarity allows us to set quarterly targets and collaborate across teams effectively. Our product metrics range from initial parent engagement to long-term retention, driving initiatives across content, product, and operations.

One example of such a cross-functional initiative is setting up processes around the grade transition of kids from year 1 to year 2. While this seems straightforward, as an Operations and Content initiative, the Product team worked with all stakeholders to align each team’s responsibilities, bringing all the challenges in the process to the table and figuring out solutions—both digital and non-digital. Most importantly, we aligned on what would be the input, output, and final outcome metrics to assess the success of the entire process. The product team is also responsible for thoroughly documenting and reviewing the process and finding opportunities to automate it as much as possible so that it can be scaled in the future with minimal manual effort.

Understanding User Behavior and Driving Engagement

So, what exactly does the product team do? Our primary role is to dive deep into user behavior, identify barriers, and discover those “aha” moments that make our product shine.

For example, we noticed that parents added to our WhatsApp groups by Anganwadi workers often felt unclear about the group’s purpose and expectations, which slowed down their engagement. They also struggled to find the group in their chat logs.

To address these issues, we introduced several digital interventions:

– A 15-day onboarding plan for new members

– Personalized welcome messages for late joiners

– Adding easily identifiable words like “Homework” to the group name and profile picture for better visibility and recognition

Overseeing everything from feature conceptualization to tech implementation and impact monitoring, we ensure every step is covered, making sure our solutions are effective and user-friendly.

Structuring the Product Team for Success

Creating an effective product team starts with the right structure. That’s why we champion the use of PODs (Product-Oriented Delivery teams). Each POD typically includes a product manager, a designer (when needed), and 2-3 tech specialists. These teams can be customized to focus on specific product lines like Parent Products or Teacher Products in our case, or to align with key value chains such as user acquisition, engagement, and monetization.

Read More: Leveraging Cartoons for Parental Behavioral Transformation in Early Childhood Education

The beauty of this approach is its flexibility. By tailoring the structure to fit the organization’s unique needs, we ensure each team has clear, measurable goals that drive success. This way, every team member knows exactly what they’re aiming for, making our overall mission much easier to achieve.

Looking Ahead: The Power of Innovation in Nonprofit Leadership

As the digital landscape evolves, nonprofits must embrace innovation to stay relevant and impactful. Leading a product team in this space requires a blend of empathy, creativity, and strategic acumen.

At Rocket Learning, we’re committed to harnessing digital tools to empower our stakeholders and drive meaningful change in the lives of young children. Our product roadmap for next year includes 100% automation of all manual processes from product launch to content scheduling to continuously nudging parents to engage with the product through strategies like gamification and network effect. More on this later.

We have taken on ambitious goals of leveraging AI/ML for initiatives like auto-correcting worksheets to give real-time feedback on kids’ learning and also create personalized learning journeys for them.

One year at Rocket Learning has broken many myths about our target segment of parents of young kids who study at Anganwadis. Parents are equally motivated for their kids’ education, know how to use digital tools like WhatsApp and YouTube, and constantly consume content digitally, just like most of us. However, they operate with constraints such as lack of time due to daily wage jobs, being mostly single-phone households where the phone goes with the father, being available for their kids’ education only in the mornings and evenings, having data packs that barely cover all intended usage, and lacking awareness of what their child is learning and what they are lagging behind in. By deeply conversing with these users, understanding these challenges, and bringing innovation to the product to solve these challenges, we are creating a very sticky product with strong outcomes.

Stay tuned for more on how we continue to innovate and drive change in our next article.

Meenakshi, with over a decade of experience in Product Management, Management Consulting, and Investment Banking, brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her role. An alumna of IIM Calcutta and IIT Delhi, she has successfully led product teams at Shaadi.com, Lead School, and Turtlemint. Her journey also includes a two-year stint at Dasra, where she contributed to the fundraising team.

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