T-Jam 2017 dates announced!

Large retailer WLTM exciting, driven and creative start-ups, for collaboration and maybe more: perhaps even to create the next big thing in the retail space.

We at Tesco Labs are dying to hear your start-up or company’s idea for the next big thing in retail innovation…and what better time to hold our next speed-dating event than during London Tech Week?

We’re bringing our 2017 T-Jam event to our London offices in the Lever Building, 85 Clerkenwell Road, EC1R 5AR on Wednesday 14th June; and we want you and any start-ups wanting to pitch their idea to join us for an exciting afternoon of food, drink, and tech speed-dating!

Come along and speed-date your idea with senior Tesco product owners, technologists, and members of our multichannel leadership team. We’ll provide you with the chance to have your idea heard by Tesco people from across the business; to hear which problems at the top of our ‘to-solve’ list at Tesco; and to meet lots of interesting people.

Numbers are limited because of time constraints (we want to give each speed-dater the chance to meet as many Tesco people as possible), so please apply for a place here.

You have until Friday 2nd June to apply – what are you waiting for?

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.

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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.

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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.

Silicon Valley Trip

We’ve been to Silicon Valley in California, in search of the latest innovations and best innovators.

As you’ll remember from my last post I was due to jet off to Silicon Valley in California, in search of the latest innovations and best innovators.

On my trip I was joined by some of our IT leadership team, who – like me – were keen to visit this huge and thriving area. The aim of the trip was to engage with some of the vast amounts of innovation going on and to figure out how we can best tap into it, in the future. Strategically it’s really important that Tesco is in the thick of it, meeting the right people so that we’re well placed to take advantage of innovations which can really develop how we do business.

What really impressed me was the sheer volume of start-ups and the amount of investment flowing into them, which is around $3bn a year. Many of them are working on retail issues or areas that are associated with retail and it left me with the feeling that it really can’t be long before we see that next big thing.

Whilst I didn’t spot anything this time around which is likely to be a game changer in the near future, there were a few companies which still really caught the eye.

One company organises rewards for customers based on their achievements. Say for example you have a running app and you go jogging every evening, it might be that one day you check your rewards account and find that you beat your personal best and that there’s a present waiting for you. They’ve flipped the typical model on its head and it has proved very successful. Rather than registering for incentives, people go about their normal lives and are given ‘presents’ for achieving certain things. People don’t expect the rewards but from time to time will be entitled to them. This has led to really high rates of engagement and people love the surprise.

The other concept I want to mention, is a way of measuring the world around us. We saw a couple of companies that could use existing technology to accurately measure an aspect of your life (like your home, or your body) to help you make better choices when buying items online. For example, using the Matterport scanner pictured below you could take these computer ‘models’ and dress them with furniture or clothes in order to see how they might look once they are delivered. These 3D models are interactive and allow you to remove, move and insert items so that you can build up a new outfit or room layout.

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(Matterport Scanner)

I also spent a few days in San Francisco as ‘the valley’ is expanding its northern reaches into the city. I was lucky enough to meet with some really big players as well as those who are part of fast growing and exciting start-ups. The start-up industry is an interesting mix of venture capitalists, incubators, start-ups themselves and larger companies who still thrive there.

It was fantastic to be out there meeting some of these really interesting people and I’ve definitely built up my network of useful contacts! My trip reaffirmed to me the importance of having an open, creative and innovative working culture. As we look ahead to the changing retail landscape we know that innovation will be key to ensuring that we are successful and continue to deliver an outstanding customer experience.