Mike Bracken: 850k new members, Agile Manchester and Mental Health Awareness Week

(Transcript) Mike: Hello. Thanks to Dave for doing this video last week. I’m back this week and again another big number 850,000 new members joined the Co-op since September 21st last year. That’s a terrific achievement by the team and membership continues to grow.

On that note, our members will be voting next week in our AGM, in Manchester at the end of next week. If you’re eligible to vote, please do. The cut-off date is a 15th of May.

Four big shoutouts this week. The first goes to Rufus, Paul Gerrard and the team have published our Modern Slavery report. It’s vitally important that the Co-op backs this initiative and we’re taking real action to put people back into society, back into the workplace. Do check out the report on the website.

Another shout out to Tom Walker, one of our user researchers has been leading on Mental Health Awareness Week and it’s great to see the Co-op support him and him engage with all the colleagues in Manchester and in the wider community to support mental health issues.

Also shout out to Anna Dick, James Boardwell, Ian Drysdale and the team for speaking at Agile Manchester a big event that we sponsored here and that we’ll continue to back, as we back that agile way of working.

And finally I got a little time this week in Federation. You see that on our website and great work with Victoria and the team who have fitted out nearly 5 floors now and with local designers and local artists, the place looks amazing.

We’ll be having a launch event later in the year and I look forward to seeing you there.

Mike Bracken
Chief Digital Officer

Mike Bracken: a busy first week back

Mike: Hello, happy new year, I’m Mike Bracken and I want to wish every member of the Co-op, particularly the digital team, happy new year. Hope you had a restful holiday and for those of you who have worked through, unlike myself, visited store and lent a hand, thank you for doing that, and have had a great Christmas.

It’s a brief update this week. But I want to just mention a couple of really important things.

Firstly, we moved into The Federation, a building where we’re building out our digital centre working with partners, SMEs and other organisations in the digital economy and already this year we’ve increased our footprint.

We received new leases for the other 4 floors of that building yesterday and I’m glad to say that that means we’ll be expanding our footprint right through the building and into the centre of Manchester further in 2017.

We also had a great opportunity to show our executive around, and show them all the products and services that we’ve been working on for the last year, and they were thrilled with that, and I can already say that we’re gonna have a lot more demand coming our way. So already a great start to the year.

Probably the biggest thing that happened last week as we moved into the new year, was that we passed the 4 million membership mark. Now, membership is central to everything that we’re about, and it was only on September 21st last year, that we reissued our membership scheme. We’ve added just under 400,000 new members since then and as I say, we now got over 4 million active members of the Co-op. So it shows that people are coming back to the Co-op and joining in substantial numbers.

So that’s great news, and do keep your eyes on those numbers which are published live and they’re updated at the end of every week.

This week ahead, well, we’ll welcome Richard, our CEO, to our all digital meeting on Wednesday afternoon in 1 Angel Square and then we’ll spend more time with our businesses through the end of the week.

I’ll give you an update on that next week, but again, just to say happy new year.

Mike Bracken
Chief Digital Officer

Highlights from the past year

It’s been just over a year since Chief Digital Officer Mike Bracken and his team joined us at the Co-op. When he invited me over to Federation House, the new home of our digital teams, I asked him which parts of the last year stand out to him the most.

Mike: Hi Nick.

Nick: Hi Mike. Thank you very much for inviting me here to Federation House… wonderful place. You’ve been with The Co-op for about a year now.

M: Yes.

N: And I wanted to ask you what you highlights have been during the time that you’ve been with us?

M: The first is obviously Membership. I’m old enough to remember the dividend and all the rest of it and to… to be part of a team that has reset Membership and reset… is resetting this organisation to be a radical member-based organisation.  

Probably to recapture what it was but also to make us much more relevant in the digital age. To be part of that programme, to help people through that fantastic… absolutely terrific and it’s only been less than two months since we started to re-card and get people ready and it’s… we’re at the start of that journey but that’s… that’s without doubt the best thing.

Next best thing – you’re sitting in it. It’s… this is Federation House and this is, I am reliably informed, one of the oldest buildings where the Co-op was way back in the day. And we’ve stripped everything out, we’ve made it into a modern, digital, creative centre where we’re going to see not just the Co-op but other people in Manchester. Other parts of the digital-eco system work with us to really grow our… our community work and our membership play and actually play a part in the wider digital economy.

So those 2 things bookend my… my time here and if I then pick one other thing it’s the people. And everyone always says that don’t they?

And the people here in Manchester but more importantly all around the country. In our stores, in our funeral homes, in our logistics centres. I’ve been to some by no means enough and particularly our sort of people in community who do work. They’re relentlessly cheerful, optimistic, positive, got fantastic values and it’s been really quite humbling, so those 3 things I’d pick.

Nick Crofts
President of the Members’ Council