The ’10 Days 100 Challenges’ event came up with new ideas for making sustainable choices in the grocery store easier

In early June, K Group’s K-Supermarket chain took part in the 10Days100Challenges innovation sprint organised by Haaga-Helia, Laurea and Metropolia, three big universities of applied sciences in the greater Helsinki area. For ten days, students sought solutions to challenges posed by various companies and organisations. The challenge presented by K-Supermarket was “How to make sustainable choices easier for customers?”

Other organisations taking part in the challenge included the cities of Espoo and Vantaa, Microsoft, OP, Telia and Click Innovation. Some 100 students, divided into teams of 4 or 5, set out to innovate solutions to the challenges. In total, 22 students in five teams worked on K-Supermarket’s challenge.

 

“We wanted to collaborate with students to get fresh new ideas on how to make aspects of responsibility and sustainability more visible to customers in our stores,” says Anne Hujala, Director of the K-Supermarket chain.

The teams delivered some brilliant ideas: over the course of two weeks, they honed concepts that approached the challenge from various different perspectives, such as improving the marketing of sustainable products in the stores, the K-Ruoka app and the K-Ruoka.fi website, coming up with a new kind of event concept focusing on Finnish food, and setting up a zero waste porridge bar where all the ingredients would be chosen based sustainability criteria.

“Many of the ideas the students came up with we can develop further and put into practice. It was really interesting to see how the ideas evolved and to be able to spar with the students along the way. For example, I’m sure that the visit to the K-Supermarket Tapiola store and the chance to talk with the retailer were eye-openers to many of the teams, and helped to make the ideas more tangible,” says Hujala.

The winners were selected at an event held on 14 June, where each team had just 5 minutes to pitch their idea. The high quality of the pitches made choosing the winning team very difficult.

“K-Supermarket chose Team Responsibles (pictured above) as our winner. They presented a new idea that would provide distinct benefits for customers. Their idea best met the challenge proposition, and was the most versatile,” says Hujala.

“The task was challenging, but very interesting!” said Tanja Rintala, Hanna Ojala, Sanna Tuikka and Olli Itkonen of the winning team.

Highlighting the high quality of ideas, the organisers awarded the idea of one of the other teams that worked on K-Supermarket’s challenge as the best in the entire innovation sprint. The team, 4SC Kesko, devised ways to use a visual identifier online to encourage customers to track sustainable choices in their shopping baskets.

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