Working with M&S on new customer experiences

Working with M&S on new customer experiences

"Teams that were a joy to work with, who produced a cultural step-change when it comes to innovation"

Client background

For almost 140 years, Marks & Spencer has been delivering British customers high-quality produce, home products, clothes and accessories. In recent years, M&S has grown its global presence, now serving more than 100 countries around the world. With newly launched web platforms and partnerships with local suppliers, M&S has transformed from an iconic staple of the British high street into a well-respected global retailer.

Marks & Spencer is an impressive organisation operationally, with around 65,000 employees, almost 1,500 stores globally and a robust digital presence. M&S senior teams have a responsibility to their colleagues and customers not only to ensure stability in an ever-changing retail environment, but to keep the brand ahead of the curve when it comes to evolving technology, demanding consumers and disruptive competitors. This means demonstrating agile thinking in order to develop new capabilities and deliver new experiences to consumers. 

Marks & Spencer’s challenges

Despite its size, M&S faced challenges when it came to capacity and bandwidth; they didn’t have the resources necessary to dedicate to future thinking and developing new initiatives. Without the resources and internal frameworks required to support disruptive innovation, outcomes and innovation programmes could be expected to take months or even years to devise and execute.

M&S needed a refreshed perspective on how to ideate, design and test new ventures which have been proven to be the most desirable, feasible and viable for their business and their customers. This led M&S to partner with Future Foundry. 

Velocity™ Innovation Operating System

Working across six sprints, M&S undertook a three-month programme to:

  • Define the customer problems M&S was best placed to address across Europe
  • Develop new initiatives to solve these problems
  • Test the desirability of these initiatives 
  • Be reactive and overcome M&S-specific roadblocks
  • Make data-informed decisions and secure buy-in with senior stakeholders
  • Produce a business case which undoubtedly proved the viability of these new ventures when it came to available M&S infrastructure. 

In just 12 weeks, they took huge steps forward in technological innovation, gaining the headspace and capacity to execute broad customer research across Europe. M&S’s teams benefited from its close partnership with Future Foundry’s team, adopting a new customer-centric approach to business innovation that was proactive, efficient and effective. The Velocity™ Innovation Operating System structure allowed the M&S team to shift its mindset on innovation strategy, continuing to apply these learnings internally, today.

"When we were stuck on something specific that we needed help with, Future Foundry was able to quickly come in, fully immerse themselves in the task, and from day one, was very clear about delivering the best outcome for our colleagues and customers. We continuously raised the bar on what 'good' looks like and how we could make the outcome even better, and they always rose to the challenge!" - Sophie Lynch, E-commerce Proposition Lead
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