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

 

 

Digital ways of working

Last week we held our first Digital MasterClass. We’ve talked a lot on the blog about the different ways in which we’re working in CoopDigital, Jamie’s post on agile delivery is a great example of this. We’ll continue to blog about how we’re working differently, but we also want to find other ways to share what we’re doing with all our colleagues.

Why would we want to share our ways of working? We’ve found that generally speaking, teams and organisations that adopt agile ways of working have a better chance of delivering the right thing, are happier and more collaborative. It’s perfectly suited to an organisation built on co-operation and doing the right thing for its people.

The first session was a pilot with the objective to provide an overview of digital and agile ways of working whilst gathering lots of feedback from attendees.

Picture of the first Digital masterclass

Anna Dick, Tom Taylor, Amy Wagner and Carl Burton all shared their experiences on topics including;

What is digital?
The habits of behaviours of successful digital businesses
Agile ways of working
Life as a product manager in CoopDigital.

We’re initially providing these sessions for colleagues in CoopDigital and will consider opening these up to other areas of Co-op in the future. The team are looking at lots of different ways for us to share experiences both internally and from people externally who we could learn a lot from. We’re trialling, learning and improving as we go.

We’re now reviewing the feedback to help us develop and improve the content and format for more sessions. We’ll also be talking with colleagues in our Group Transformation team about their work.

Picture of Jenni Moss - Delivery Manager

Jenni Moss
Delivery Manager

Introducing Co-op Paperfree

Hello, I’m Tom, and I’m the Chief Product Engineer at CoopDigital. That means I do a bit of writing code, a bit of design and a bit of pointing at whiteboards. I’ve been here since January, and it’s been an incredible first six months. There’s a brilliant, excited team here, and I’m proud to be part of it.

You might have seen Mike’s speech from our AGM, where he set out our ambition to be, amongst other things, trusted with your data. That’s a big topic and no small feat, but we’ve been working on an experiment to help us understand what it might take.

If you’re anything like me there’s a lot of paper in your life. It just keeps turning up: envelopes full of bills, bank statements, notifications about pensions, and so on.

Often they go straight in the recycling, but sometimes I keep things around because I *might* need to refer to them again in the future. So they get thrown into heaps and piles that move slowly from the kitchen to the stairs to the attic.

Many of the people we’ve spoken to in our research feel overwhelmed by their documents: information is never to hand when they need it, things get lost, and they take up loads of room.

We think we can help, with a simple, secure app to help you go paperless. Our working title is Co-op Paperfree.

paper-free-screens

You get your documents into Paperfree by scanning them with your phone’s camera. We make the contents of the scanned photos searchable using character recognition, so you can always find what you’re looking for without needing to organise too neatly ahead of time.

But Paperfree isn’t just for storage. We’re exploring ways of to make your life easier with automatic reminders for expiry dates, and ways of safely sharing with housemates, for example.

And of course, these important documents are increasingly digital, so we’ll be supporting those equally.

For most people this is some of the most sensitive data they hold, and we’re very aware of the security and privacy risks, both technical and social. We’re working alongside Sarah Gold and her team at IF, to ensure we put our users in control of their data. We’ll talk more about this in a later post.

scan-screen

So that’s a quick introduction to Co-op Paperfree. It’s the first prototype we’re developing in this area, and we’re excited to have a handful of our colleagues testing it right now. (Gulp!)

If you’re interested in working on this, or products like it, we’re hiring engineers, designers and user researchers.

If you are a colleague or a council member and want to find out more you can join us at our regular show and tell which is every other Tuesday 9.30 on the 10th Floor of 1 Angel Square. The next one is the 19th July, hope to see lots of people there.

Tom Taylor