Technophobe to techie in 24hrs

A self-confessed technophobe tells us about her experience at this year’s Tesco Hackathon.

As a self-confessed technophobe the Tesco Hackathon was never something I thought would be for me. I was invited to be part of a team comprising of external tech consultants and thought “Why not?!”. The opportunity to create something that answered one of my many: “Why don’t we have something that…?” questions, was too tempting to pass up.

I hadn’t heard of a Hackathon before but discovered that it’s an intense coding competition where teams get 24 hours to build a prototype of a new app, to help solve a problem somewhere in the business.

“The Hackathon was brilliant fun, I loved the energy and buzz that was generated by all the teams as they were brainstorming and then building their ideas. I was so impressed by all the hacks that were created – the standard definitely felt higher than previous years and every hack fit the brief of “a little help” perfectly.”

Angela Maurer, Head of Tesco Labs.

The calibre of hacks was outstanding and extremely inspiring. The teams themselves came from all over Tesco including from Tesco Bank, Tesco Mobile, stores and some of our supplier partners. This year there were over 100 people taking part, in 16 teams. The hack theme was “A little help”. We were challenged to come up with loads of ideas and prototypes for helping both customers and colleagues out, in their everyday lives.

The 2016 winners:

1st Place – ‘Sam’s Elite’ created a customer mobile app for real time visibility, tracking and information of their order, including any order changes, precise delivery time, driver and van info and delivery feedback.

2nd Place – ‘The Royal Hackers’ created an app that linked a scan-as-you-shop device to a customer’s online shopping list, from fridge to checkout in store.

3rd Place – ‘The Bankers’ created an app which allows our customers to budget for their shop and track how much they throw away, with the aim of reducing food waste.

“The Hackathon was so much fun. Our team got a chance to showcase the skills we’ve learnt since joining the Tesco Bank graduate programme. It was great to see everyone doing what they do so well. We really didn’t expect it, so we were delighted to get 3rd place. We’re coming back next year, to win!”

Scott Gardiner, Tesco Bank.

Although our idea of “healthy helps” didn’t win, I’m exceptionally proud of it and leant so much in the process. It was a chance to meet loads of inquisitive and passionate colleagues. Bring on next year!

This content was written by Sarah Gallo, Health & Wellbeing Manager, and was originally posted on the Tesco PLC blog.

T-Jam 2016 – what went down

Our T-Jam event gives technology start-ups an opportunity to pitch their ideas to people from around Tesco in a fun speed-dating format.

Last week as part of London Technology Week we hosted another of our T-Jam events. T-Jam gives technology start-ups an opportunity to pitch their ideas to people from around Tesco in a speed-dating format. Everyone gets five minutes to pitch before moving on to the next table and doing it all over again. There’s also an opportunity at the end of the session to have a bit more of a chat with people you found most interesting.

The events are great for colleagues at Tesco as they can meet a lot of interesting and diverse companies in a short space of time. Not just in their area of expertise but in a broad number of areas.


One of the start-ups said it gives them an opportunity to refine and practise their pitch as well as get a good variety of questions and feedback from the mixed background audience. Some of the attendees don’t even have companies yet, just ideas that they are working on which might become start-ups soon. Some wanted to talk about our developer APIs (Application Programme Interface) and ask about our IFTTT channel (If This Then That) and how they might be able to build apps that link into the Tesco ecosystem – this is really exciting as it gives us an opportunity to explore new ways of making the shopping trip that little bit easier (and fun!) for our customers.


In the past we’ve gone on to put demonstrations from companies we’ve met at T-Jam into our Tesco lab and tested a couple on some of our websites so who knows what might happen with the companies that we met last week!

If you’re interested in applying for any future events then keep an eye on our Twitter feed.