John Lewis has launched a technology incubator, ‘JLab’, in a partnership with technology entrepreneur Stuart Marks.
John Lewis’ director of IT, Paul Coby, said in a blog post that the incubator has been set up “to identify and develop technology innovations that will provide John Lewis with future strategic advantage with customers’ needs at the core of each idea.”
Five start-up companies will work with John Lewis and Marks between June and September this year, where they will be given the support to develop their products and solutions across three main areas.
These areas include in-store innovations and products which will improve customer experience across all channels, innovations around the “Internet of Things” and looking at how John Lewis can use data to drive real-time, in-store personalisation for customers.
One company from the five will then be chosen for a £100,000 investment.
“The John Lewis Partnership’s founder, John Spedan Lewis, was a radical entrepreneur and so adopting a novel approach to business and retail innovation is not new to JL,” said Coby. “It’s a fundamental part of the Partnership’s DNA.”
The closing date for start-ups to enter into the programme is 17 April 2014.
The announcement of the incubator comes as analysts predict positive results for The John Lewis Partnership ahead of its financial report expected on Thursday 6 March.