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Innovation Sprints

The company wanted to find agile innovation partners that could use digital technology to better understand its customers in a variety of sectors, beginning with its hospitality business. Using Digital Catapult’s Innovation Sprints, it identified Datalytyx, a small innovative business partner, to help it uncover deeper insights in its customer behaviour and potential.

How do you get to know customers that only interact on a sporadic basis?

Over half of the corporation’s customers in the hospitality industry only interact with them a handful of times a year, buying products in small quantities on an ad-hoc basis. With relatively limited purchase histories and little online engagement it is difficult to get to know these businesses.

This situation is exacerbated by the fact that the limited customer interactions that occur are spread across different departments, generating multiple operational and customer data points. To date, the majority of data research projects have taken place in specific functional teams such as finance, logistics or customer service. The corporation identified that, in order to better understand its customers, it needs to integrate and explore these cross-functional data sets.

It was looking for solutions to provide deep customer understanding from multiple data sets, and also wanted to explore the possibility of augmenting its own data with other private or publicly available datasets.

For example, could information about the weather be used to understand product consumption in pubs or aggregated information of consumption from welding companies inform macroeconomic trends in construction?

Identifying technical partners outside its own business

The transportation company wanted to adopt new tools and methods to understand gaps in the service, develop alternative business models that best serve customer needs, increase customer retention at a minimal cost, and identify new products and services.

Aware that it did not have all the skills required in house it was looking for agile companies to work with. However, finding the right high-calibre startups and scaleups to partner with is not a simple process. The company reached out to Digital Catapult to access its extensive network of high calibre startups and scaleups and for help in selecting relevant potential partners.

Identifying and selecting the best partners

Using Digital Catapult’s Innovation Sprints, the company started to explore this challenge with startups and innovators that are developing AI and machine learning solutions.

Innovation Sprints helped identify and select innovative startups to work on the challenge, followed by an agile innovation sprint, which develops and tests the best ideas surfaced during the pitstop process over three months.

Following 30 applications from the initial open call, Digital Catapult helped the company select 15 high potential startups to deliver eight proposals that were pitched during a demo day.

From these proposals the company selected two startups, including Datalytyx, to participate in a six week agile innovation process to explore their ideas further.

The Innovation Sprints process has identified new ways to gain valuable customer insights by augmenting data

Undertaking the Innovation Sprints gave the company the opportunity to work with 15 high potential startups and scaleups that could be potential future partners it could work with to drive innovation into its business.

It has identified new ways to analyse and augment data that could uncover customer insights to inform and grow its business. As a result, it will engage with a number of startups and scaleups which it met through the Innovation Sprints, to develop and deploy infrastructure to enable its analytics framework going forward, with a particular eye to providing novel insights into customer and operational behaviours.

It has signed an initial contract for £150k with Datalytyx to start to roll out some of the ideas that were explored during the Innovation Sprint.

The process has identified methodologies from these startups and scaleups which will facilitate discovery of patterns of product consumption, high value sales targets by region and high performing regions. By augmenting and integrating data using publicly and privately available data such as weather, demographics and credit ratings, the company has the potential to achieve a far more nuanced understanding of its customers that will be used to determine marketing and sales actions as well as optimising operational activities.

“It’s difficult to get enough time with decision makers from large corporations to discuss challenges and ideas. This innovation sprint gave us access which has already led to a commercial proof of concept. From the beginning of the journey to the final award, Datalytyx enjoyed working with Digital Catapult to highlight the value and benefits we can provide to large organisations. The workshops were helpful and well executed, with the complex nature of the challenge drawn out in innovative, engaging ways.” – Peter Chase, Account Director, Datalytyx

New approach to augment data that provides greater customer insight

Involvement of staff at all levels of the organisation contributing to the cultural change needed to accomplish digital transformation within its organisation