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Entries in London (1)


Inspiration: The People's Supermarket (London)

"For the people by the people"
A while ago I visited one of the most remarkable supermarkets ever. Today, exactly 18 months ago they openend their doors and are throwing a party for it as we speak. Anyway, it was very innovative, but not in the way one would expect at all... No fancy lighting, self scan or other high tech shopping solutions to be found. Not even close! First of all I had to actually find the supermarket (currently there is only one in the world) and secondly I had high expectations, but was a bit dissappointed when I entered the supermarket. It was small, not very organized, and not well designed at all. But as said before: the innovation here is in the thought behind the supermarket and especially in the way of running it: for the people by the people. This sign in the store explains the basics:

So this is nice and all, but what is the aim and mission of this community initiative? One of the founders explains and says: "The People’s Supermarket is not for the exclusive use of members. The aim is to convert regular customers to Members when they see the quality of the produce, the lower prices and the vibrancy of the supermarket."

"It has 8 key objectives:
♣ Create a commercially successful social enterprise that is not grant/fund dependent.
♣ Helping families and low income groups in the community buy better quality fresh produce.
♣ Enable a local community to shape the provision of their local food retail offer.
♣ Provide training opportunities for the long term unemployed or socially excluded.
♣ Minimise food waste.
♣ Act as a catalyst to improve community cohesion.
♣ Through education encourage healthier eating practises.
♣ Supporting British farmers and food producers.

"We are a cooperative store that seeks to deconstruct the way mass food retailers do business and reshape it along what we feel are more ethically and environmentally sustainable lines. By bringing communities and people together."

For more information read the entire co-founder speech or have a look at the short animation

My learning (over and over again): innovation isn't always about the newest of the newest, the highest tech available, futuristic design or finding alternatives for 'dull' hand work. Sometimes it is just about not accepting the status quo, or going back to basic consumer needs or staying much closer to original products or even letting go of the usual business models and come up with less money driven models, but with other kind of benefits. It may sound easy, but it takes a lot of guts to turn around 180 degrees.

Most important of all: do it, implement it, walk the talk. Otherwise your ideas will just be ideas; nothing more, maybe even less