Hack Manchester Junior challenge

As well as sponsoring Hack Manchester. We’ve also set a challenge for Hack Manchester Junior. The competition is a 2 days coding competition for those 18 and under. 

Picture of children at Hack Manchester Junior

Here’s our challenge

Let’s tackle Loneliness

We’d like teams to make something that can help people who may be experiencing loneliness connect with each other/someone. It could be something physical that can go in the front of a Co-op Food store using something like Raspberry Pi’s, Arduino’s, or something purely internet based.

Background

The Co-op has a history of campaigning for a better society, tackling issues of concern to our members across the UK, whether that’s climate change, votes for women or fair trade. Last year, once again, we asked our members and colleagues to tell us what issues where facing their communities, and as a result we are tackling social isolation and loneliness.

One of the ways we are responding to this issue is through a Charity Partnership with the British Red Cross. We’re not just raising money but also undertaking our own research into loneliness. Already we know it affects many people (one in 7 of our own members and customers). It’s not just something that affects people in later life, it’s something that can affect anyone at any time for many different reasons .

The research will inform how we respond through volunteering, expanding British Red Cross services, through campaigning and through what we do ourselves as a business and employer.

Judges

 Danielle Haugedal-Wilson who is our business architect  and Tom Taylor our chief product engineer will be judging the entrants.

Prizes

PS4 plus game OR Beats Headphones & Sony Wireless Speaker OR iPad Mini
plus a bag of Co-op goodies.

We’re really looking forward to seeing what’s produced on the day. Good luck everyone.

Gail Lyon
Digital Engagement

 

 

Hello from the world of Social & Digital Engagement

Gail Lyon (so you know what I look like)

Gail Lyon (so you know what I look like)

My history with the Co-op goes back a long time, a really long time – in fact if it wasn’t for the Co-op I wouldn’t have been born. My Mum and Dad met across a crowded dance floor in the now sadly demolished Helena House in St Helens at a Co-op dance. My Dad’s first job was at the Co-op – he went from wrapping meat in brown paper to having his own store and so it felt like fate when 3 years ago I was approached to join the group.

Helena House - Image courtesy of Geolocation
Helena House – Image courtesy of Geolocation

I am results junkie – I love seeing an instant reaction, that’s why I guess I love social media so much, and why I ultimately ended up making a career out of it. I started my working life at BT, after a couple of years I went to Siemens to set up their telemarketing operation and then moved into marketing, where I did every job under the sun from product management to proposition development – chasing a job where I could see the results of my work immediately. I became impatient with direct mail, advocated the use of email and the wondrous world wide web. Finally I ended up with responsibility globally for their digital and social presence.

And so back to today – I’m the Group Social Media and Digital Engagement Lead for the Co-op – and I can honestly say I LOVE my job – why? Well, I work with the most amazing group of individuals – smart, passionate, kind, caring, co-operative with boundless energy – wanting to make a difference and get stuff done.

I’ve had the opportunity to build a strategy and an approach to social media from the ground up with the aim to turn the Co-op into a social organisation, with social integrated seamlessly throughout. We’ve gone from a team of 3 to a team of 10, covering both internal and external campaigns (paid and organic), content creation and community management. We developed the first UK retail Snapchat campaign which was named by Campaign Magazine as one of the top 10 digital innovations, was short-listed at Cannes Lions plus we were awarded best use of social media at the e-commerce awards for a Twitter campaign for our electrical business.

I love being able to have an idea and do something about it – a perfect example of this is how to connect our store managers quickly, simply with no cost – what was our solution – WhatsApp. Something easy to use, roll out and perfect for our disparate employees. On launch day we saw over 3,000 messages, images and videos, in the trial area we saw double digit sales growth – all because colleagues could connect, talk, bond and share. I’ll save the details for a later blog – but need to credit Jordan our Senior Community Manager for making the idea a reality.

And now it gets even better, what more could a digital professional ask for – we have a leader in Mike Bracken with an exciting vision of how the Co-op can be a pioneer again in a digital age, I feel beyond excited and privileged to be a part of it.

If you want to say hello you can find me on Twitter @gailtwist (Twist’s my married name in case you were wondering)