Steve Foreshew-Cain: the Funeralcare service exits beta and Design Manchester has begun

(Transcript) Steve Foreshew-Cain: Hello and welcome to this week’s Co-op Digital update.

Well since I last spoke, our Membership app trial with our colleagues has begun and over a thousand people have already signed up to join the trial. They’ve been giving us loads of feedback already and we’re learning quite a lot from it so we’ll be sharing what we learn on our blog.

Some other great news, the service that we’ve been working on with our colleagues in Funeralcare has exited its beta phase. There’s been a lot of hard work since we did the initial inception back in April 2016, but as a team were really proud of the product that it has been built and the amazing job frontline colleagues have done to help us design a service that we have proven works and will give colleagues time back to care more. So big thank yous to all of those involved.

Now you may remember a few weeks ago I told you that The Federation had been nominated for an Inspired Places Award 2017. Voting opens today and we’ll share the link on our blog and our Twitter account so please, please vote and remember if you’d like a tour of The Federation, get in touch with Victoria Howlett who can arrange that.

This week also saw the start of Design Manchester, Manchester’s annual design festival. It runs until the 22nd of October and there’ll be talks exhibitions workshops films and loads more across the city celebrating design in all its various forms. We’ll be running and speaking at several events this year too so we’ll be talking a lot about service design, something that’s really relevant to what we do here in the team. Everyone’s welcome so please once again, the links to register will be on our blog. Please take advantage.

Now, yesterday it was our pleasure to host the first Northern Data Governance Forum. It was great to welcome lots of organisations to share their thoughts and experience on data governance. Thank you to Catherine Brien and Ian Thomas from the team who were amongst the speakers there.

And finally this week Kate Towsey has joined us as a user researcher and she’ll also be helping us build our very own user research lab in The Federation, so welcome Kate, it’s great to have you onboard.

That’s it for this week you’ll find our latest vacancies on our blog and don’t forget to subscribe for all of our updates and follow us on Twitter.

We’ll see you next week.

Steve Foreshew-Cain
Group Digital Director


The last 2 weeks in Co-op Digital

As always, there’s been a lot going on over the last fortnight. Here are 8 highlights.

1. We put our app for members live on Monday and so far we’ve had 1,000 colleagues sign up, with 500 downloads. We’re trialling it with colleagues and a handful of members at the moment to validate our assumptions. Users can give us their feedback through the app and we’ll post more about what we’re learning and where we’re going next as the trial continues. You can read about our discovery into the app and our progress 2 months later.

2. The Leading the Way team went to a conference for Food store regional and area managers. We showed off our products How Do I and My Schedule and got some great feedback. We also ran sketching sessions with over 200 attendees! We asked the field teams to share their ideas on how life could be made easier in store which was a really useful exercise. We also got lots of validation on things we are already doing.

3. Congrats and thank you to data scientist Alex Waters who organised our first data hackathon. Around 50 folk from around the Co-op Group teamed up and worked with data that wasn’t familiar to them and used tools they’d never used before. You can see highlights of this massively valuable event on #coopdatahack

4. Our Head of User Research James Boardwell and our old colleague Tom Walker have set up a meet up for user researchers, User Research North. Tom wrote a post explaining why they’ve co-founded this group and last night they held their first event at The Federation. Speakers included Gillian MacDonald, user researcher at Co-op Digital and major foodie, and Mark Branigan who worked with our Funeralcare team.

5. We held our first show and tell for everyone who works in The Federation. Each organisation described what they do and what they’re working on. Here’s to more of these cooperative vibes please.

6. Danielle Haugedal-Wilson has been asked to join our Co-op Member Council. She’ll help make sure that members’ opinions and concerns are heard at the highest level in our business. Nice work, Danielle.

7. Alberto Brandolini came in to show us how to do some ‘event storming’. Alberto says this technique helps teams “tame complexity with agility” and by helping them understand the bigger picture. Thumbs up to Gemma Cameron for organising this.

8. Lastly, hey there and welcome to our new starters. Digital Engagement Manager for The Federation, Rebecca Rae and quality analyst Paul Carey have joined us.

If you’re interested in working with us, have a look at our work with us page. You can also follow the blog and follow Co-op Digital on Twitter.

Gail Lyon
Head of Digital Engagement

Steve Foreshew-Cain: an app for members, training Funeralcare colleagues and an award win

(Transcript) Steve Foreshew-Cain: Hello, and welcome to this week’s Co-op Digital update.

The week started with the brilliant news that the team won the ‘Best Loyalty Initiative’ for Co-op Membership at the Retail Week Technology Awards. A massive well done to the team. Thanks to Danielle, Georgina, Anna and Dave who picked up the award on behalf of the team.

Our social media team have also been nominated for a number of awards at both The Drum’s DADIs and UK Social Media Awards in the last few weeks – so fingers crossed for them too.

On Wednesday we welcomed our Group Board to The Federation for their September board meeting. Whilst they were in the building we were able to give them a tour around and they were some of the first people to see the new Pioneer coffee shop – which is looking amazing.

It will be open for colleagues and tenants in the Federation shortly, and then open to the public after that – watch this space for more updates.

Also this week our Deputy CEO Pippa Wicks spent some time chatting openly and listening to some of our Digital colleagues. She then visited Adam Warburton and the team working on the membership app, heard about what they’ve learnt so far and even got to try it out for herself. Thanks Pippa.

Carl Burton, Helen Lawson, Michelle Monaghan and the rest of the Funeralcare digital service team have been busy this week. They’ve started to train colleagues in Funeralcare how to use the new system. If you’re a colleague and want to know more, you can at the next show and tell which is next Tuesday, 26 September at 2pm on 12th floor of Angel Square. But don’t worry if you’re not in Manchester, it will be filmed.

We’ve just said goodbye to Mark Brannigan one of our user researchers – but as they say, ‘user research is a team sport’ and thank you Mark for everything that you’ve done to really live this, and all the best for the future.

This week we it was great to say hello to some new faces. Alex Lynham joined us as a software engineer in our Data Services team and Amber Garland is our new apprentice software engineer, joining the Membership team. Welcome.

That’s it for this week. You’ll find our latest vacancies our blog. Don’t forget to subscribe for all our updates and follow us on Twitter. See you next week.

Steve Foreshew-Cain
Group Digital Director

Our Digital plan (July to December 2017)

Today we’ve published our Digital plan. It describes what Co-op Digital is working on from July to December 2017. It helps colleagues understand our priorities and provides a baseline to help us track how we’re doing with delivering our milestones.

Working in the open is important to our values so we’re publishing a non commercially sensitive version here on the blog.

Read our Digital plan (July to December 2017)

Co-op Digital team

Steve Foreshew-Cain: our Digital plan, Wuthering Bytes and good news for The Federation

(Transcript) Steve Foreshew-Cain: Hello and welcome to this week’s Co-op Digital update.

This week we shared our Digital Plan for the rest of 2017 with our colleagues right across the Co-op and we’ll also be sharing this with our Members Council today and publishing it in the open on our blog next week.

We’re working on some great things at the moment to improve the service and experiences for our members, colleagues and customers. And an important thing that we’re doing is using digital tools to bring communities together and make it easier for them to collaborate.

Some top-line things that the plan covers are clarity on our purpose, responsibilities and the priorities of the Digital team in 2017, launching The Federation as a co-operative digital community for the north west that supports local businesses and startups, not-for-profits and other co-operatives.

And, in partnership with Funeralcare transforming at-need funeral service to give them more time to spend with clients. And in partnership with our Food business making it easier for colleagues to find information about how to do things and manage their schedules and tasks. And finally improving our Co-op’s approach to managing data so that we have all the insight we need to make informed decisions. We hope that you find it useful and of course any feedback is always welcome.

It’s been great to support Wuthering Bytes this week which is a festival of technology in the Peak District, so thanks to Andrew Back and the other organisers for letting us be involved, and plus a big thank you to Ian Drysdale for sharing his thoughts on festival day about building communities.

This week our Membership teams, including Digital Engineering, moved into their new home on the sixth floor of the Federation.

And in news just in we’re delighted that The Federation has been shortlisted as one of the most Inspired Spaces North 2017. This is brilliant news and a testament to the hard work of the whole team.

Also, this week we welcome Zirca Ali who joined our agile business community welcome to Zirca, it’s great to have you on board.

We’ve also said goodbye to a couple of colleagues in the last few weeks so I’d like to say a massive thank you and good luck to Ella Fitzsimmons who’s been doing great work helping our teams talk about their work, and to Jason Tang who helped us kickstart our journey to being trusted with data. Thank you again and please keep in touch.

Well that’s it for this week you’ll find our latest vacancies on our blog. Don’t
forget to subscribe to all of our updates and follow us on Twitter. We’ll see you next week.

Steve Foreshew-Cain
Group Digital Director

Steve Foreshew-Cain: a visit from the City Council and Leading the Way showcases its work

(Transcript) Steve Foreshew-Cain: Hello, and welcome to this week’s Co-op Digital update.

This week we welcomed Joanne Roney who is the CEO of Manchester City Council to The Federation, along with Alistair Asher and Ian Ellis. They were able to see the progress that’s been made, and met with one of the ‘Friends of the Federation’, Northcoders. Thanks Joanne for taking the time to come and visit us all.

And as I’ve mentioned before, we’d love to show as many of our colleagues around the building as possible. So, if you’re interested, please do get in touch. We’ll also be holding some open days just for Co-op colleagues very soon so keep an eye on the blog for more details.

On Wednesday, the Leading the Way team had the opportunity to meet with Pippa Wicks, Helen Webb and Ian Ellis from our Group Executive team at the Ashton on Mersey food store. They showed them the work they are doing as one team with our Food business to make life easier for our colleagues that work in store. Take a look at Anna Goss’s blog post from last week for an update on just some of the work that’s going on in that programme.

Last week we all gathered as a Digital team as we regularly do, and as part of that it was my pleasure to recognise 3 of our Digital colleagues for their work ‘being coop’. Thank you to Gary Traynor, who’s worked for Co-op for 30 years, Jo Schofield for working with our Food store colleagues, and training them to write great content, and especially to Scott Bennett for his work on our Prides across the country. Thank you again for ‘being Coop’.

And finally a hello to Aaron Omotosho has joined us for a few months of work experience with Danielle. It’s particularly great to welcome Aaron, as we’ve been able to support him during his studies at Loretto college. I’m sure you’ll be hearing more from Aaron on our blog.

That’s it for this week. You’ll find our latest vacancies our blog. Don’t forget to subscribe for all our updates and follow us on Twitter.

See you next week.

Steve Foreshew-Cain
Group Digital Director

Steve Foreshew-Cain: being more ‘Co-op’ with data, Federation update and Manchester Pride

(Transcript) Steve Foreshew-Cain: Hello, and welcome to this week’s Co-op Digital update. Even though we’re in the middle of everyone’s summer holidays, it’s great to see that there’s still plenty of work going on in Co-op Digital.

You may have read our blog post this week about the discovery work that we’ve just finished on how we handle our data. We’ve been thinking about how we can take a more ‘Co-op’ approach to our data. We pulled together a multidisciplinary team right the way across the organisation to look into this and I was really impressed by the work that Eliot, Jack, Vicky, James, Annette, Rob and Kevin – and many more who contributed and presented at their end of discovery show and tell.

If you want to find out more, have a read of the blog post. It would be great to hear about any thoughts or ideas you may have, you can do that by commenting on the blog post, sending us a tweet or come and chat to the team if you’re a Co-op colleague.

As Dave [Johnson, Director of Digital Engineering] mentioned while I was away on holiday, the event spaces and coffee shop in the lower floors of The Federation are almost ready. We’ll be celebrating the opening of these in the couple of months. Watch this space for more details.

If you’re a Co-op colleague – or anyone else who’s interested to see the the space, we’d love to show you around. If you’d like a tour you can contact Victoria Howlett our Federation Manager to organise that.

Also a big welcome to Northcoders, UsTwo and Liverpool Girl Geeks who have moved into their spaces in the building and joined us as ‘Friends of The Federation‘.

This week we held one of our Digital Masterclasses where we introduce some of our digital ways of working to our colleagues right across our Co-op businesses. Thanks to those who took the time to join us.

And finally we’ll be supporting Manchester Pride along with the rest of Co-op. Thanks to Scott Bennett from the Digital Engagement team along with our colleagues in our Respect network who’ve been helping our colleagues across the country support lots of the regional prides.

That’s it for this week. You’ll find our latest vacancies on our blog. Don’t forget to subscribe for all our updates and follow us on Twitter.

See you next week.

Steve Foreshew-Cain
Digital Chief Operating Officer

UsTwo talk about their new home Federation
Northcoders on why they chose Federation House