Originally published on the Code First:Girls blog
“As the winner of the Code First: Girls’ competition, I won the amazing opportunity to visit Tesco Labs in Welwyn Garden City to find out more about how the historic company is transforming itself as an innovator within the industry.
Led by Sophie Caley, a product manager at Tesco Labs, she gave me a tour around the space and explained how technology has transformed in the past decade. From mock supermarket shelves to the latest virtual reality headset, the Lab was fully stocked with equipment to help Tesco find out how to best serve its customers through technology.
Although the Lab was established less than a decade ago, it has become a core part of the supermarket giant’s work. When speaking to Sophie, I was most interested by the human element of her work. Whether it is running a crazy brainstorm session with her team or collaborating closely with family testers for product trials, I appreciate how the company wants to put out high quality, tried-and-tested tools that truly benefit its customers.
Particularly for companies such as Tesco, where customers interact with them on a daily basis, it is often easy for us to forget about the whole operation and infrastructure that is used to run its stores. Behind the shelves are people from all disciplines who come together to ensure that everyone’s needs are satisfied as far as possible. From the technology perspective, this means figuring out where new products should be placed on shelves, how the website software can be made more accessible, and what new accessories can be developed to make the customer shopping experience more enjoyable.
Whilst people may be wary of adopting new technology, Tesco Labs firmly believe that new innovations can make our lives easier and more interesting. For me personally, it was an incredible experience to be able to better understand the direction that Tesco Labs is going and to learn more about how the company works with third parties to create exciting, new products. Instead of trying to replace the well-functioning mechanisms we currently have, Tesco prides itself in filling in the gaps to build creations both big and small, making our shopping, homes, and our lives more connected.