David Turner, head of digital strategy and technology innovation at Hermes, reports on the next generation of disruptors.
If you enjoy spending your weekends flicking through the broadsheets, you may have recently come across The Maserati 100, which reveals the most iconic entrepreneurs in recent British history.
The luxury car company teamed-up with The Sunday Times in order to recognise 100 businesspeople who have been especially significant across their particular industries.
On the list you’ll find leading names such as Alex Chesterman, who founded Love Film and Zoopla, Charles Rolls and Tim Warrillow of Fever-Tree fame and retail expert Nitin Passi, who created Missguided (one of our fantastic clients).
I was first drawn to The Maserati 100 after reading a blog post by Innovate UK, which proudly shared that nine companies within the century of firms had progressed with funding from the government-led agency.
These businesses included Ella’s Kitchen, Horizon Discovery and Ocado.
I am a massive fan of Innovate UK and the agency will become even more important after Brexit, which will ruthlessly remove the UK’s access to EU-funded technological research.
Since 2007, the agency has committed more than £1.8bn to innovation, matched by a similar amount in partner and business funding.
It has helped more than 7,600 organisations with projects estimated to add more than £11.5bn to the UK economy, creating 55,000 extra new jobs.
I believe industry-leading organisations also have a commitment to promote innovation and encourage the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders to spread their wings and flourish.
Earlier this month, we did just that, as we hosted the first Hermes Hackathon at Leeds Beckett University, where we challenged groups of students to create a range of exciting solutions that could enrich the home delivery industry in the future.
To facilitate this, we granted the students special access to our sophisticated development portal and our APIs (Application Program Interfaces).
“The millennial generation will be the ones to take the opportunities provided by the online revolution by the scruff of the neck and create the next big ideas”
David Turner, head of digital strategy and technology innovation at Hermes
Five student teams competed against industry thought leaders from the Hermes Innovation Lab in an attempt to create the next big delivery solution in just six hours.
The winning group, Team 404, devised an application to streamline the shipping process for myHermes customers, including increased functionality when printing multiple shipping labels.
Team 404 also impressed the judging panel by examining different ways it could potentially integrate with external APIs, belonging to organisations such as Ebay and PayPal.
Each team member received an Amazon Echo Dot as a prize.
Runners-up on the day (The Wolf Hack) focused on bringing Hermes’ Live Chat platform to a number of different devices, including smartphones and digital assistants such as Amazon Alexa. They each secured a shopping voucher for their efforts.
A multi-platform live-chat application and an enhanced GPS tracking solution designed to drive down fuel consumption were among the other fantastic ideas concocted by students.
A panel of four judges, including our CEO Carole Woodhead and Sean Davis, technical consultant from Google, who flew in from Switzerland specifically for the event, were incredibly impressed.
Carole said “the energy, creativity and commercial prowess” displayed by the students was “truly remarkable”.
The millennial generation, including those still studying, may not remember life before the internet, but they will be the ones to take the opportunities provided by the online revolution by the scruff of the neck and create the next big ideas.
The hackathon provided us with ideas we may never have thought of – and you never know, our retail clients may now see these ideas sooner rather than later.
- David Turner is head of digital strategy and technology innovation at Hermes