The John Lewis Partnership leads some of the UK’s most respected and well-loved brands, including John Lewis department stores, Waitrose Supermarkets, and John Lewis Financial Services. A visionary in the market, The Partnership has a history of innovative operating models. Their employee-owned founding model deems all 86,000 permanent staff to be partners who share in the benefits and profits of the business.
John Lewis Partnership recognized that the retail industry was experiencing rapid change and wanted to respond quickly to changing consumer preferences, taking advantage of innovative opportunities. They put a strong focus on building new customer propositions and testing new ways of working, to later scale across their wider brands.
John Lewis Partnership saw an increasing crossover between foodservice and grocery, with new entrants disrupting traditional customer journeys. They discovered that the way consumers were finding, buying and cooking food was changing and that although British consumers still loved to cook, they were spending less time doing so. They also saw an increasing focus on health and wellbeing, which impacted food choices.
Based on these insights, John Lewis Partnership partnered with Thoughtworks to create ‘Cook Well’ for Waitrose, producing cook at home food choices delivered directly to consumers’ doors that fit into a healthy diet. The cross-functional team ensured that product, technology, operations and user experience worked together to drive a single view of the customer’s journey, from selecting a recipe, to ordering and delivery. Consumer research and hypothesis-driven development drove every decision, so the team could learn early and adapt to build what the customer really wants.
On the technical side, the team used continuous delivery and evolutionary architecture practices allowing them to go live on demand, releasing new features as soon as they were ready, and not at fixed release times. The short, 5-7 day, build, test, learn feedback loops allowed the team to pivot quickly to ensure the highest possible quality and product fit.
Within 3 weeks = the team was testing recipes at home
Within 6 weeks = the first test box was delivered through the platform
Cook Well has been selling out throughout the trial period
John Lewis Partnership has been able to build new products, services, and experiences using new methods of working, which allows them to be fast to market with customer-centric offerings.
Innovation and experimentation are highly important to our business. Partnering with Thoughtworks has helped us to bring Cook Well from Waitrose to the market quickly, followed by iteration over time in response to feedback from our customers.
Head of Business Development, John Lewis Partnership