John Lewis launches “JLAB” retail incubator

JLAB’s purpose is “to identify and develop technology innovations that will provide John Lewis with future strategic advantage with customers’ needs at the core of each idea,” explains John Lewis IT director Paul Coby.

As well as John Lewis involvement, the JLAB incubator be run in partnership with technology entrepreneur Stuart Marks, running between June and September.

Up to five startup companies will be selected to join the John Lewis JLAB incubator, where they will be helped to rapidly develop their products and solutions, supported by a team of John Lewis leaders and external mentors. One of the five companies will then be chosen for a £100,000 investment.

The JLAB incubator is looking for promising technology that will:

  • Help customers shop: in-store innovation, customer experience across all channels (e.g. self service product info and prices) and technology-driven customer inspiration
  • Simplify customers’ lives: innovation around the “Internet of Things” (how all devices will communicate together, enabling a more connected home)
  • Know each other: using data to drive real-time, in-store personalisation for customers, provided they want it.
“The John Lewis Partnership’s founder, John Spedan Lewis, was a radical entrepreneur and so adopting a novel approach to business and retail innovation is not new to John Lewis,” added Coby. “It’s a fundamental part of the Partnership’s DNA.”

Applications for the incubator are now open – the closing date for submitting ideas is April 17.

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