Steve Foreshew-Cain: celebrations, congratulations and goodbye

(Transcript) Steve Foreshew-Cain: Hello and welcome to this weeks Digital team update.

Firstly I’ll start with a congratulations for our Digital Engagement team, who picked up 2 awards at the Northern Digital Marketing Awards. They picked up ‘best use of social media’ and ‘best influencer and engagement’ campaign for the #ReverseAdvent. Great news, and very well deserved recognition for the team.

Also The Federation has been nominated for another Digital Impact Award, this time for social and economic transformation, which recognises outward-facing initiatives that look to make a positive impact on the wider world.

This alongside the recent partnership with Co-op Foundation and the Omidyar Network which has provided £700K of funding to offer free working space for tech entrepreneurs tacking social issues, showing the growing impact of the space. It’s something to be really proud of for the whole team.

We’re also developing a collaborative year-round events programme, open to all, that will tackle some of the major issues around creating a more inclusive digital economy and the development of a civic tech sector in the UK. This will include looking at the impact of technologies on broader social issues such as loneliness, inclusive participation and the right to privacy.

Our Co-op Academies are holding a recognition evening for their students next week and we were asked to nominate one of our colleagues to present an award. In line with the theme of the evening the colleagues presenting are those who consistently demonstrate the Ways of Being Co-op.

Annette Dockery, Annette Joseph and Scott Bennett were all shortlisted as colleagues who consistently go above and beyond in their behaviours and in bringing the Co-op Values to life. Annette Dockery through proactive commitment in bringing teams and communities together, Annette Joseph by her significant effort on the wonderfully successful Agile Immersion Course and Scott Bennett through his daily passion, proactivity, not least with the Pride campaign, and his dedication to the Co-op.

We would like to recognise all 3 of these colleagues for everything they do for us as a Co-op – thank you. The final decision was incredibly close but we have agreed that Scott Bennett will be presenting the award on the night. Congratulations Scott – we are proud to have you represent Co-op Digital.

And finally, this will be my last update. I’ll be leaving the Co-op next week. I’m leaving a team of passionate, dedicated and really talented individuals who it’s been a pleasure to work with.

Thank you for having me, but I know from here, you’ve got this

Steve Foreshew-Cain
Group Digital Director



Steve Foreshew-Cain: welcome back

(Transcript) Steve Foreshew-Cain: Hello and welcome to the first Digital team update of 2018. Happy New year to everyone hope you all had an enjoyable and festive break with your families. A big thank you to those of you who worked over the holidays, and particularly those in our social media team who were there for our members and our customers even on Christmas Day.

Before we left for the Christmas break we had the last All Team of 2017. It was a great celebration of all the hard work from everyone during the year. You can see some of the highlights in the short film which was put together and is available on our YouTube channel and linked to from our blog.

But back to the future and back to 2018, and this week we say a big hello to Matt Atkinson who’s joined Co-op as our Chief Member Officer. It’s great to have him here and he’ll be spending the next few weeks getting to know our teams in Digital alongside the other areas within his responsibility. So, a big welcome Matt.

Now, since opening the events space in The Federation in October we’ve held over 90 events for many different organisations, including the latest Digital Summit for the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham. The space is available for anyone to book – so if you’re looking for a great space or want to have just a look around, contact
Victoria and the team and they’ll be happy to show you around.

The Pioneer cafe in The Federation is also now serving food as well as amazing coffee. When you’re in the building do come along and check it out.

The new year has also brought some new faces to the team. We’re delighted to welcome
Heidi Berry, who is joining our engineering community, along with Danny McCarthy, Emma Gray and Kimberley Cowell who join our data science team. A big welcome to all our you.

We’ve also said a couple of goodbyes over the last few weeks to Laura Timmins and Tino Triste – thank you and as always we wish you all the very best for the future.

Dave Johnson our Director of Digital Engineering will also be leaving us at the end of January 2018. Jon Ayre will now step up and lead the Digital Engineering team
on an interim basis until we complete the process to find a permanent successor.

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. Look forward to seeing you next week.

Steve Foreshew-Cain
Group Digital Director

2017 highlights: there’s a lot to be proud of

Yesterday, at our final All Team of the year, the Digital team came together to look back at 2017. There’s a lot to be proud of so we’ve made a film to show our highlights.

Everyone at Co-op Digital has made a difference. Everyone has been determined to do the right thing, even when the right thing wasn’t easy.

Here’s to being collaborative. Here’s to being brave.

Here’s to 2018.

Steve Foreshew-Cain: The Federation is open and ‘How do I’ is live

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

This week we officially launched The Federation, as you can see behind me. It’s been amazing to see the transformation of the building into a vibrant, modern space. But what’s been even better is the community of people and organisations, both large and small, public and private that have come together.

Thank you to all the Federation team, Emer, Victoria, Lisa, Beena, Sam and Bex as well as our colleagues across the Group and NOMA that have supported us in not only the launch but the whole refurbishment of this fantastic building.

Also a big thank you to Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester who took the time to join us to mark the launch, as well as our CEO Steve Murrells.

The launch is just the beginning. There’s going to be lots going on in Federation. We’ll share all events on our social channels, and don’t forget there are really great event spaces that are available to hire for anyone as well as desks on our co-working floor.

One of those events is happening next Tuesday. Our Member Voice team are screening the Rochdale Pioneers film in The Federation. The Rochdale Pioneers tells the story of the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers who founded the first successful co-operative retail store and whose passion and sense of fairness and justice inspired a worldwide movement with values at its heart.

I also wanted to say a big well done to our team working with colleagues in Funeralcare who received a highly commended award for workplace transformation project of the year at the UK IT Industry Awards last week. Well done.

Yesterday the ‘How do I’ service for our colleagues in Food went live and was launched into stores. 100% of the Retail Support Centre’s policy and procedure content is published on How Do I.

In the few days since we’ve launched we’ve already have over 650 colleagues accessing the new service, giving us lots of positive feedback on the service and plenty of ideas for improvement and iteration of the content.

And to give you some idea of the scale of the work, that’s 411 policies rewritten, 137 copied across from Citrus which was the old system. Absolutely stellar work from the content editor team who have been seconded in from stores and in less than 6 months have learned how to write user-focused content and how to use a content management system.

How Do I wouldn’t exist or be useful without the content, so this team, with our content designers Jo and Hannah’s help, have made it happen. So a huge thank you to Emma Nichols and her team – and to the whole team working together in partnership with our food business. That’s ‘being Co-op’ at its best.

Sadly we say goodbye to Jen Farmer this week. Jen was part of the team that brought our new brand to life, and has done a brilliant job of helping our data team start to engage with members.

Well, that’s it for this week. A big week I think you’ll agree. You’ll find our latest vacancies our blog – we’re looking for engineers, agile delivery managers, QAs and doing lots of recruitment in our data science team.

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: service jams at Design Manchester and sponsoring Hack Manchester

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

You may remember a few weeks ago I told you that The Federation had been nominated for an Inspired Places Award 2017. Voting is now open so we’ll share the link on our blog and Twitter accounts – so please vote, and remember if you’d like a tour, just get it touch with Victoria Howlett who can organise that.

For the last 2 Saturdays, as part of Design Manchester, the team ran a ‘service jam’, which is where a group of individuals come together to create a service in a short space of time. A lot of work went into organising these events. Thank you to everyone who joined us and got involved, and a particular thank you to Kathryn Grace, Katherine Wastell and the rest of the design team for organising such incredible days. You can view how the days unfolded on Storify.

On Wednesday, our user research team held their first monthly show and tell in Angel Square. Thanks to everyone who took the time to join them and well done to James and the team for sharing what they’ve learnt over the last few months with colleagues from all over the Co-op.

This week, we’re proud to be sponsoring Hack Manchester and Hack Manchester Junior. The junior event saw some amazing teams coming up with really creative solutions to the challenge we set. Well done particularly to Table 9 and Hackerboy who were our joint winners. I’ll let you know next week all about the main 24 hour hack which takes place this weekend at the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry. Good luck to all the teams entering that.

Talking of teams working through the night, I wanted to thank our engineering team working on Co-op Membership. They worked through the night on Tuesday to ensure the successful transition to a new technology platform. So a big shout out to the whole team. Thank you to all and well done.

Christine and the team working on our Going Google trial have been working really hard to make sure that it’s easy for our Digital colleagues to collaborate and work seamlessly with the rest of our Co-op colleagues. This week, major milestone, they delivered the integration that means regardless of if a colleague is using Google or Microsoft – they can easily see one another’s calendars.

This week we welcome Jon Ayre from FLS as our Interim Director of Digital Services and Amber Garland who has joined as an Apprentice Software Engineer to the Digital team.

And sadly we say goodbye to Mel Jones, Lawrence Kitson, Roberto Hortal and Sophie Newton – thank you all for your contributions to our Digital team. In particular, safe travels to Sophie on her move to New Zealand.

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.

And don’t forget to vote. See you next week.

Steve Foreshew-Cain
Digital Chief Operating Officer

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