How sketching sessions can help us make our stores more efficient

We’ve been collecting ideas for digital products and services with people that know most about problems in stores – our colleagues. 

Recently, our area and regional managers got together for their annual conference. During the afternoon we held breakout sessions where the Leading the Way team showed some of the digital products we’ve been working on. And we also ran a ‘sketching session’.

Sketching is a technique Leading the Way has been using to help us pool ideas from subject matter experts. We’ve been doing this both before and during the time we’ve been building products and services. We want to hear from the people who know the most about our problem space – after all, they are the people who experience it every day so their input is really important.  

Then we build on these ideas. Here’s an early sketch of MySchedule, something we’re now working on. It’s amazing to think that just a few months ago, this idea was locked away in someone’s head!

Image shows doodles from a sketching session.

And here’s the real thing:

Image shows MySchedule where teams can find out about their schedule.

How sketching sessions work

We read the group a series of questions and asked them to sketch their response to the questions. So, for example, one of the questions was: ‘How can we make communications simpler in stores?’ Here’s an example sketch that answers that question.

Image of a doodle from a sketching session. doodle shows a megaphone with 'clear, concise message' written above it.
You don’t have to be able to draw to take part. A good sketch can be a scribble, some words, a diagram or absolutely anything that can convey an idea to us.

Anyway, we ran 4 sessions with around 60 people in each, so we got absolutely loads of feedback in sketch format.

photograph of people taking part in a sketching session.

So many ideas! How we filtered

We collected all 500 sketches, took them back to our team and this week we’ve been sorting them and grouping them into themes. We’ve used a ‘filter’ (basically a series of check boxes) to keep us focussed when we sort. You can read more about our filter in our post about our discovery into our food stores.

Pulling out common themes

We’re already seeing lots of common themes in the sketches. For example, lots of people think we need simpler communications ie, just one single way of finding out important information when you’re at work or elsewhere. The sketches also told us that many of you feel swamped with messages and tasks being delivered in numerous ways – see the sketch below.

photograph of doodle from sketching session showing a laptop with the message 'you have 600 emails' on it depicting being overwhelmed by messages.

We also see that you think our stores need some sort of ‘toolkit’ that will make it easier to complete tasks and help colleagues to do all the things they need to do within the time available.

photograph of a doodle from a sketching session that show a 'co-op swiss army knife' depicted like a toolbox to help get all tasks done.

We’re working on some stuff already

We’re really pleased to see that some of the work we are already doing matches up with the ideas people had during the sketching sessions. And even better, we think that some of these sketches may take our new products even further. We’ll take the ideas that fit best and build them into our roadmap.

Here are some that map to our How Do I product.

photograph of sketches that link to our How do I product

What we’ll do next

We’re still working through the sketches, collating the themes and seeing how they can influence what we do next.

Thanks so much to everyone that got involved on the day. It was great to have your support. We’ll blog again soon to share our progress.

Kim Morley
Delivery manager, Co-op Digital

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