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Hello, this is the Co-op Digital newsletter - it looks at what's happening in the internet/digital world and how it's relevant to the Co-op, to retail businesses, and most importantly to people, communities and society. Thank you for reading - send ideas and feedback to @rod on Twitter. Please tell a friend about it!

[Image: Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash]

Keeping retail within the last mile

Subship is a “weekly drop of local goods. Delivered free to your door, every Thursday.” It’s South-east London only at the moment. You might think of it as a different take on Near.St, which wants to make all of local shop inventory searchable - Subship makes a curated list (local, ethical, independent etc) and delivers from it.

Elsewhere in delivered goods, a one-woman food-to-offices delivery service has reinvented itself as Pedalling Pantry, a plastic-free, fruit and veg delivery service.


Second-hand IKEA

With resale, Ikea is trying to find new ways to acquire customers - IKEA is testing out a new way to incentivise customers to come to its stores during the holiday season. It will host a Black Friday event called Buy Back in 27 countries, where it will encourage customers to bring in old furniture for Ikea to resell. “All products must be returned completely assembled” says the website, which might cause a few rueful chuckles.

Remote work panopticon

74% of ~1,000 companies plan on maintaining the increase in home working. And San Francisco hits highest office vacancy rate in nearly a decade as workers stay home.

Stripe will pay workers $20,000 to leave New York and San Francisco. But there’s a catch: the workers who take up the offer will have to take a 10% cut to their compensation. This might make sense if you’re only planning to stay employed at Stripe a short while. But if your share options are based on your salary though, it might make less sense.

Some employers don’t trust their people working from home. 'I monitor my staff with software that takes screenshots' and Corporate snitches are using screen monitoring to find and fire slackers. Maybe a second team could monitor whether the first team’s productivity monitoring is itself ruining productivity and trust.


“We’ve updated the Walmart signage on the exterior and interior of stores to reflect the Walmart app icon, creating an instant omni-shopping experience in the customer’s mind.” - Walmart’s deploying a new look in stores that emphasises their app, and adds self-checkout and contactless payments. One thing all retailers want the customer to think is “Omni-shopping”.



A government service running well:

Been a busy few days for GOVUK Notify... With almost no notice, we helped the NHS send nearly 40 million emails and text messages to help in the fight against coronavirus.
If you ever needed a case study on the value of common platforms... :point_up::skin-tone-3::point_up::skin-tone-3::point_up::skin-tone-3:

A government service running less well: that Test and Trace numbers thing with the Excel file. It shouldn’t have happened, and it’s not good using spreadsheets to move data around. (No disrespect intended to the spreadsheet gods, who will receive an offering so their dream-like grid continues to watch over us and admit all calculations.) 

The underlying cause may have been some historic organisational make-do meeting a new public health need which suddenly turned every dial to eleven. From the outside it is hard to tell, and too easy to judge - we do know that many working on these services will be doing their utmost.



Plastic straws and cotton buds banned in England. Businesses can no longer sell or supply the single-use items as part of efforts to reduce pollution - this is great for the environment. Except that there are unintended consequences: it will disproportionately affect disabled people for whom single-use straws are the way they drink fluids :(

In thinking about how to create services or a world for inclusion, this is very simple but profound: ability is temporary. Or putting it another way: 

I need access, accommodation
and equity.
These are not special needs.
They are the needs of
every human being

Working conditions

“We’re building the first comprehensive data set about the quality of hourly work in the UK and helping workers use that information to make decisions about what work they want to do and for whom.” - How Breakroom uses data to make hourly work better for everyone.



“Today, the rules come from Apple, or California, both of which are increasingly becoming America’s privacy regulators by default. But they will also come from the EU, which is increasingly writing laws that, intentionally or not, change how American companies do business in America, and the more different rules we have in different places, the more fragmented and complicated things get. Regulation is an export industry, and a competitive industry.”



Cooperation Town is a new network of community-led food co-ops, providing free and affordable food” - it also helps you start your own co-operative.


Co-op Digital news and events

How dividing into smaller delivery teams has improved delivery.

Switching to a career in digital is the best decision I ever made.

Co-op is extending free school meals through half term at its 25 academies.

Free of charge events at Federation house (and elsewhere): 

  • Allegory calling for participants to inform green economic recovery. Allegory is working with Icebreaker One to connect private and public sector leaders to help deliver net-zero and transform the climate crisis into economic innovation. They’re holding a panel discussion to discuss how to drive a green economic recovery from Covid-19 but are keen to understand the views and policies of local government. They are reaching out for those interested in engaging with the project, through research interviews, sharing details of local initiatives, events or future panels. They are preferably looking for councillors, or officials from local government with an interest in green recovery. If you know anyone who could represent Greater Manchester email  
  • Social Media for Business Influence – Webinar – 21 Oct – 1.30pm 
  • Volunteer with Code Your Future – Meet Up – 21 Oct – 6pm 
  • Federation presents: Wellbeing During Uncertain Times – 4 November – 5pm. A new event series by The Federation, focusing on navigating wellbeing through 21st century challenges. In this first session in the series we will be joined by Amity CIC, which will coach us on how to maintain positive wellbeing. Sign up here.  

Paid for events 

  • Tech Ethics – Meet Up – Various Dates & Times 
  • Ales & Alleyways – Virtual Tour of Manchester – 21 Oct - 5pm 
  • Book Club – Discussion on Brit(ish) by Afua Hirsch – 22 Oct – 5.30pm 

More detail on Federation House’s events.

Thank you for reading

Thank you friends, readers and contributors. Please continue to send ideas, questions, corrections, improvements, etc to @rod on Twitter. If you have enjoyed reading, please tell a friend! If you want to find out more about Co-op Digital, follow us @CoopDigital on Twitter and read the Co-op Digital Blog. Previous newsletters.

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