Hello, my name is Kate Oliver and I am currently on the Supply Chain graduate scheme. On Tuesday 14th and Wednesday 15th November I was selected, alongside my fellow graduate Jo Mawdsley who is currently on the IT Graduate Scheme, to represent Boots at the Macmillan Future Leaders Innovation Challenge in London.
The Future Leaders Innovation Challenge is a two day event held in London each year bringing together graduates from organisations who partner with Macmillan Cancer Support.
As part of the event, Macmillan set a brief for the innovators to use their skills and expertise to think of new ways to drive awareness, supporter engagement and fundraising, to help support the 2.5 million people living with cancer in the UK.
For Jo and me, however, the challenge began much earlier as to join this exciting programme, we were put through our paces by the learning & development team in an internal selection process including a video application and a 1-2-1 panel interview. Relieved and excited to have been selected, we packed our bags and headed to London!
We arrived at the Macmillan head offices in Vauxhall and met the rest of the delegates attending from companies including Marks & Spencer, Nestle, Nationwide and Wolesley. The first day was led by the corporate partnerships team who gave us an insight into Macmillan and the role corporate partners play as well as an introduction to Human Centred Design – a problem solving methodology we would use to complete our brief the next day.
On the second day, we were separated into four teams and began to work on the challenge brief: “How can we engage fun loving givers – a predominantly female demographic of young professionals aged 21-30, to donate to Macmillan in small but regular way that feels good?”. Research showed us that fun loving givers like to support charities through work based activities, getting involved with social media campaigns and events that are linked to their hobbies. With this in mind, we started to ideate and group our thoughts into characteristics and insight statements which we then used to form our fundraising product.
As part of the programme, we heard from Rocio, one of Macmillan’s ‘cancer voices’ who shared her story about her experience when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and subsequently Sarcoma and how Macmillan provided her with essential support and care throughout the process. Although at times difficult to hear, Rocio’s story touched our hearts and reminded us of the various ways Macmillan continues to support those affected by cancer – be it financially, emotionally or through their nurses.
In the afternoon, each group had the opportunity to present their idea back to a panel of judges, including the head of corporate partnerships for Macmillan. It was great to hear each groups fundraising ideas – there was everything from an app to track your donations and volunteered hours, to a partnership with Nandos where customers could convert the points they earn in store to a charitable donation to Macmillan.
This is the first year Boots has had the opportunity to take part in Future Leaders, so we were both really proud to represent the business and meet likeminded graduates from other organisations. We had a brilliant two days with Macmillan, and can’t wait to share our learnings back with the business and continue to champion the amazing partnership we have.