December 21, 2018

Co-op is returning to healthcare

416 words approx. 2 minutes to read

Earlier this year I introduced the Ventures team, our mission and why what we’re doing is important for our Co-op. In the 6 months that followed, not only have we launched our first venture, local.co.uk we’ve also decided to close it, taking with us some key learnings to pursue our latest focus in health and wellbeing, Co-op Health.

In a word, we’ve been busy. So, let me quickly bring you up to speed.

Testing an online, co-operative, marketplace

Our online marketplace, local.co.uk was the first venture we tested. We were looking at disrupting online marketplace businesses with our co-operative model. In the few months the site was live we served many customers from right across the country; customers buying handmade and locally sourced homewares, toys and pet accessories from real local vendors and makers.

In true iterative venturing fashion, we built it, tested it, learnt a lot and now we’re moving on. We’re looking for markets where our co-operative business model can add real value to customers and members.

Thank you to those of our Co-op colleagues, customers and Members who, along with us, tested local.co.uk and purchased from one of our many amazing partners.

An online repeat prescription service from Co-op Health

You may have heard that, as part of our work to deliver a new business venture in the health and wellbeing sector, we bought another business: Dimec.

Dimec was founded by two Pharmacists, Chris and Andrew, and is an online service allowing NHS patients to have their repeat prescriptions delivered right to their door by pairing with their GP surgery.

So, yes, our Co-op is reentering the pharmacy market, just in a very different way.

Over the last few months, we’ve been hiring the Pharmacy dispensing team and have been making sure our operation is ready to receive, dispense and deliver orders to customers using the service. From this week, Dimec customers that choose home delivery will start receiving their medicines from Co-op Health, dispensed from our new Pharmacy within Co-op’s Depot at Lea Green.

Next year, we’ll launch the Co-op Health business to the nation.

For now, find Co-op Health on Facebook and Twitter.

Innovation at our Co-op

Alongside our colleagues in the Digital team, we’re based in The Federation. The Federation is a community of Digital businesses and innovators built on co-operative values in Manchester. Stay updated on all venturing and innovation at Co-op:

Tim Davies
Director of Ventures

Read more on innovation at our Co-op:

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  20. I dare not venture in in my wheelchair, narrow aisles, fear of blocking them. Houses are going up thick and fast in Rudgwick. We need bigger/ extended premises with more space at the check out area. No complaints about the manager.

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  22. Looking forward to you doing something innovative and fast (enough)

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  23. On Line MArket Place, good idea. My concern is with our local Co-op (Rudgwick) . Good Manager, helpful staff but not enough space, especially at the check out. I dare not venture in in my wheelchair, narrow aisles, fear of blocking them. Houses are going up thick and fast in Rudgwick. We need bigger/ extended premises with more space at the check out area. No complaints about the manager, he is involved with the local community. Philomena Leech Rudgwick ________________________________

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  24. Great to Know if Tim’s reference to the ‘nation’ is one or four UK nations?

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  25. It is good to see the coop coming back to the pharmacy business
    Maybe the coop could enter into the health market such as gp surgeries or opticians
    Best wishes
    Philip watson

    Reply
  26. Thanks for the prediction. Very helpful. Reality is that pharmacy needs disruption. Clearly, this is an unpopular view if you have a vested interest in things staying just as they are as the existing industry mostly does – but it has barely altered in the 25 years I have known the it and digital only players still command less than 1% of the entire market. The reasons for this are multiple, but complexity in the digital customer journey is a big one.

    It would be romantic to think that while other industries are changing beyond recognition, and rapidly – pharmacy will remain the same. I disagree. We sold our old bricks and mortar business at the top of the market and now have an opportunity to reinvent for the 21st century without the legacy which most agree makes corporate innovation very difficult. Disrupting yourself is never easy.

    We’ve got several other things going on in Ventures also, and I do strongly believe in experimentation but I do think that after a number of false starts in digital and with very little consumer product to show for it – we need to balance the theory with commercial thinking, deep industry understanding and opportunities that have good adjacency to our existing businesses.

    Thought the link below, published a couple of weeks ago may be interesting to explain my thinking – applicable not just in ventures but anywhere really.

    https://hbr.org/2018/12/set-the-conditions-for-anyone-on-your-team-to-be-creative

    ^Tim.

    Reply
  27. Tim sticks to his knitting as a former Director of Pharmacy and opens a new Pharmacy business. Pharmacy, an already crowded market with limited opportunities for disruption but low risk. I predict this will be the only Venture and the function will be renamed in an OD in 2019.

    Reply
    • Personally, I think having someone experienced in running Pharmacies is a good person to run Co-op’s venture into Healthcare.

      As Tim mentioned in a blog post a few months back, when introducing the new ventures team, “our world is faced with unprecedented challenges. But, with challenge, comes a need and an opportunity to serve it. People are living longer and with ever-complex health needs, young people are facing financial pressures their parents did not. We can see markets that are failing or broken in these areas and more.”

      So, as well as this latest venture (our second so far) the team will be exploring others in 2019 and beyond.

      ^Jordan

      Reply

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Ventures and innovation