Steve Foreshew-Cain: a Member Council event, an award win and Food colleagues come to Federation

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

On Saturday I had the pleasure of joining our National Members Council to share with them the work that we’ve been doing in Co-op Digital over the last year. Catherine Brien was with me and she talked about our thoughts on data and the work that we’re doing to become trusted with our members’ data.

And a big thank you to Mary McGuigan who presented with us as well. She’s a council member who was presenting on her experiences working with our teams as a member of the Digital Working Group.

Catherine’s had a busy week as she was also representing the Co-op at the Manchester Digital Summit. Now this was a summit that was arranged by the Mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham, and was a really great opportunity for us to get the chance to share our thoughts and our experiences about how to connect people and businesses and their communities.

On Wednesday we welcomed some of the food store managers to Federation House. They shared some brilliant ideas with the team who were working on the Leading the Way project so thanks to them. And a big thanks to Steve who took some time out of his busy diary to sit with Kim Morley as she demonstrated some of the exciting work that the Leading the Way team have been working on.

A massive well done to the team working together with our colleagues in Funeralcare to transform their business. I’m not sure if you’re aware but they won an award last week. The Digital Leaders award for the best large enterprise project. That’s a brilliant achievement for Robert, Andy, Carl and the whole team and very well deserved.

And finally a hello to some of our new starters. We welcome Sophie Benger to the Digital Engagement Team where she’ll be helping our data science team explain some of their work. We also welcome Adam Westbrook who’s joined the Engineering team this week as a platform engineer.

Well that’s about it for this week. Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog and follow us on Twitter.

See you next week.

Steve Foreshew-Cain
Digital Chief Operating Officer

Working with the Members’ Council

On Sunday, I was happy to have an opportunity to discuss our digital strategy with the Members’ Council. The best way to bring that to life was to show some of the things we’re working on for Funeralcare and wills.

Andy Pipes, one of our product managers, showed members the alphas we’ve built. These are early versions of digital products. We test them with stakeholders and get feedback to shape how they develop.

Andy talked through the team’s work on arranging a funeral and preparing a will. Making these services easier and clearer helps customers and colleagues to know what is happening and to keep in touch. We’ll be sharing more about these alphas on the blog this week and next.

What the Member Council told us

We’re on the right track. Council members liked the clarity, tone of voice and sense of engagement with customers.

They asked great questions and tested out some of our thinking on:

  • the alpha products
  • our place in the market
  • our plans for helping members to communicate
  • our approach to managing and using data

Some members were concerned about the experience visually impaired or dyslexic people might have when they use our prototypes. They were pleased to hear that we’re working with Leonie Watson, chair of the British Computer Association of the Blind, to make sure we do the right thing.

Engaging with members

We’ll be working with the Council as we go on developing our digital services. I’m looking forward to Council members getting more involved and helping us to keep our focus on delivering what’s right.

Thank you to those who jumped straight in with an offer to help test our beta products. You’ll be hearing more from us as they start to develop. In the meantime, we’ll be sharing what we’re doing through this blog.

On Friday, we’ll start to publish a weekly newsletter. It will let you know about some of the things that are happening in digital businesses elsewhere and why they’re important for the Co-op and our members.

Mike Bracken
Chief Digital Officer