The Co-operative Group embarked on a 3-year programme that was focused on restoring the business to its rightful place at the heart of communities up and down the UK.

The vision centred on putting Membership back at the heart of the Co-op, tangible proof of the Co-op purpose, and demonstrating a different, better way of doing business for its customers and the community.


The ambition was clear but the proposition and mechanics needed detailing and aligning across Co-op Exec, Board, Council and Business Leaders.

The programme had the full remit from defining and agreeing the new Membership proposition, through to implementing the required business and systems changes and launching across the UK.

Project One were chosen for their experience across change leadership, programme delivery, operational impact and business change.

The key here was in pulling together the propositional strands and working across the different stakeholder groups. Project One helped shape and refine the proposition and mechanics.


The Co-op wanted their customers and members to have a distinct experience. An end-to-end Member Experience Map was created to help shape this. The approach was to determine how the whole set of propositions worked, starting with potential shoppers and existing customers, mapping out the ongoing Membership experience.

The implications on the five businesses and the Group support functions were complex and needed to be clearly set out. This allowed all business areas to understand what needed to change or be developed.

Project One used their ‘Operating Model’ expertise to show clearly what the operating implications were, helping to shape conversations across the Co-op to ensure all Business leaders and their change teams understood the overall impact and were driving aligned plans.

The change landscape was complex. Each business area was fully engaged with the detail on how they would execute the new Membership Proposition and what would need to change.

“When we were facing specific challenges in the programme Project One helped up to consider the wider context and brought experience from other clients. We were able to take a broader view of options and things to watch out for. It was good to get different perspectives. ”

Alyson Chadwick – Director of Strategy, The Co-op

The delivery environment was complex, with the delivery approach changing from Waterfall to a bi-model Agile and Waterfall approach, with new external Systems Integrators and Agile teams.

This presented three key challenges:

  1. A need to educate the business teams on the ways and means of Agile delivery
  2. The programme delivery structure needed to be optimised. Project One brought in their views on how to separate out the ‘what needs to be delivered’ from the ‘how it should be delivered’ and how best to align the Waterfall and Agile delivery elements into an overall release delivery approach.
  3. The change of approach led to some increased risks to delivery. An assurance exercise mapped the latest solutions back to the proposition and original ambition against the member journey, with drive behind the resulting actions to ensure the day one proposition remained robust.

A carefully planned phased launch was designed that allowed the programme to understand how the Membership capability worked in practice and helped Co-op colleagues to be part of early iterations and improvements.

“The experience, tools and frameworks that you brought helped us take the strategy, drop it down to a more granular level, and feed that through to the delivery teams.”

Alyson Chadwick – Director of Strategy, The Co-op


Already Co-op Members are realising significant value through their 5% reward, and their involvement in the way in which the ‘Co-op Local Community Fund’ is spent. Further benefits include:

  • a clear unified Member proposition across the Co-op. All businesses offering ‘5% for You, 1% for Your Community’
  • the Membership proposition strengthened through additional business-specific Membership propositions
  • Significant new business capability embedded and delivering the strategic ambition. Managed Change and Readiness with the businesses and ready to catch, land and embed change
  • A remarkable and successful Membership launch, celebrated by Co-op colleagues, wider Members and well-regarded by industry analysts
  • A growing Membership base, increasingly engaged in the proposition
  • A vibrant set of local causes in each Co-op community, benefitting from Co-op and Member contributions and resources to help make local life better. The results so far are fantastic with over £3m created for over 4,000 local projects that are selected by the Members.

POSTED BY: Hayley Saich - Head of Marketing

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