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#RetailEXPO19: Vodafone formalises innovation pipeline

Vodafone is successfully introducing initiatives into its business through a formalised innovation pipeline that cuts across its global footprint

To address the massive disruption in the industry Vodafone recognised the need to experiment more and introduced its ‘Digitali’ programme.

Sezin Tumer, principal retail innovation manager at Vodafone, said at the RetailEXPO in London: “It sits across retail, customer care and digital and involves Vodafone partnering with start-ups and established companies to run pilots that help us achieve our business objectives.”

In order to make it work across 20 countries and thousands of shops, a framework was created that involves identifying challenges and opportunities in the business and then building an “innovation pipeline” of potential solutions. “We filter the solutions, assess them and then pilot in certain countries. We then share the results globally,” she said.

If successful then the solution can be extended out globally and Vodafone ultimately therefore enjoys the “massive efficiency” benefits of being a large organisation. Tumer admits that Vodafone does not have the luxury to experiment in any direction and that its innovation funnel initiative adheres to certain principles.

These include: innovations have to be in-line with company goals; involve it learning from failures as well as successes; failing fast and scaling up; deploying innovation that cuts across all channels; and if it cannot be measured then do not do it.

As part of the process Vodafone has adopted a ‘innovationmeter’ that Tumer described as a simple tool that involves seven multi-choice questions that determine the potential of a solution based on the aspects of its demand, impact and effort to implement. The score the tool throws out will be on a scale from ‘no brainer’ to weak potential. 

Innovations so far implemented include the TOBi chatbot, an in-store robot, and an artificial intelligence solution for helping Vodafone agents communicate with customers at home to solve problems.

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