How may we…innovate as graduates?

Tesco’s 2018 Technology Graduates have just reached the end of their placement with the Tesco Labs team.

The aim of the 7 week placement is for the graduates to build a demonstrable prototype that adds value to the business or solves a problem statement, from across the organisation.

We caught up with Julia Wong and Jack Clare, two of our Technology Graduates to hear about their experience of the Lab placement.

Q: Can you outline the process you went through during the 7 weeks?

Julia: For the first few weeks of the lab placement, our group focused on ideating. We talked through all of the problems we saw during our one-month store placement and put them into How May We (HMW) questions. We chose the HMW that interested us the most in order to come up with the final problem statement.

With a problem statement now selected, we discussed all of the different ways to tackle this problem, verifying our ideas with as many relevant business stakeholders as possible.

The build phase involved creating a wireframe of our mobile application and testing with colleagues. In the last week of the placement, we were given the opportunity to demonstrate our prototype at a demo day and delivered a presentation to the Technology leadership team.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced?

Julia: Picking up so many new skills in such a short space of time was definitely a challenge. With only 4 weeks to actually build our prototype, we had to learn things quickly in order to finish the project in time for the demo day and presentation. However, we could always reach out for help if we were really stuck on something.

Q: Would you do anything differently next time?

Jack: There is actually little I’d do differently next time, as I think that trial, failure and improvement is a really important take away from the Labs placement. However I would try and streamline our validation process for ideas, to allow more ideas to be tested by the team. Time is really precious and there’s always the possibility that we didn’t validate an idea which if we had, would have turned out to be the idea of the century! The more you test and take forward, the better informed your decision making process can be.

Q: What was your biggest learning from the placement?

Jack: I think the biggest take home from the placement is how challenging it can be to actually come up with a groundbreaking, innovative idea that is actually doable! With most of the truly “out there” ideas our team ideated, either they were way too complicated to even build part of in a seven week placement. Or they would never have any valid business case or maybe even there’s no actual customer demand or need for it. However, the ideation time is well spent for those few gems you uncover to take further.

Q: What advice would you give to future Grads doing their placement with the Labs team?

Jack: Keep ideating and validating around each problem space you’re interested in. Your best and most innovative ideas won’t be the first or second, but more likely the 41st or 63rd idea your team comes up with. Don’t be afraid to suggest something that you might think is out there, as it might just end up being viable and could be the root of the Tesco of tomorrow!

If you'd like to know more information you can email us at labs@uk.tesco.com, or let us know your thoughts with a tweet @TescoLabs