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Tesco team focuses attention on innovation

UK-based grocer Tesco held an innovation event last month, with the aim of producing a solution that improves the lives of the supermarket's customers.

Dubbed the Globe'athon, the idea of the international competition was to generate new ideas that might be brought into the wider business over time.

More than 350 people from the business got together to form approximately 50 teams, with Tesco's UK, Central Europe (Czech, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland), India, Thailand and South Korea operations all participating in the event.

Representatives from the various divisions of Tesco, including Blinkbox, Dotcom, Extra, Express and dunnhumby were all involved, with the teams given 24 hours to generate a new business concept.

Commenting on the Tesco Talking Shop blog, one of the members of the winning UK team, Luke Hickton, said that the experience was "particularly rewarding" because of the diversity of his group, which included a customer delivery assistant, a designer, a developer and a research engineer.

"By the end of the 24 hours we had a fairly compelling business and a technical mock-up," he explained.

"I know you'll be keen to hear more about the idea itself but we're not at a stage where I can share anything just yet! What I can tell you is that it focuses on a new way of delivering groceries to customers (no, not drones)...watch this space."

Watch this space, indeed. The Tesco Globe'athon comes at a time when a number of the leading UK retailers are placing a significant focus on business innovation, as they look to maintain pace with the fast-moving technology industry.

Both Argos and John Lewis have launched digital hubs this year, as they look to spur innovation in their businesses and encourage the next generation of tech start-ups.