Waitrose Partner Ideas: A platform to foster engagement, collaboration and a culture of innovation

Within Waitrose, innovation and ideas are part of the organisation's DNA for ALL of their 53,000 partners (employees).

Waitrose is a one of UK’s leading supermarket brands and is Britain’s largest employee owned retailer. By providing the ability to suggest new ideas for the business and allowing Partners to voice and collaborate on those, it allows the organisation to constantly strive to better operations, customer service and its impact on the communities it serves.

Partner Ideas is Waitrose's innovation scheme built on Wazoku’s Idea Spotlight, to collect, evaluate and manage all ideas and engagement from all employees.


Read the full case study

Read full story
With over
Active partners
Ideas received across business
Realised savings
For waitrose

Steady growth of signs ups

Waitrose is consistently averaging 100 sign ups to the Partner Ideas platform per month

13% of ideas executed

Submitted ideas on the platform have been delivered and implemented

A single idea saves £168k pa

One idea to reduce receipts by 12cm saves Waitrose £168k per year in till roll costs.


Collecting ideas for innovation has been going on at Waitrose for over 15 years. Although their previous method, the Waitrose Good Suggestion Scheme, was a great way to submit ideas, it had so many friction points and it was so unengaging, it rarely saw any ideas delivered.

Waitrose 3 key drivers for any innovation is that it must:

  • Make it easier for the customer
  • Make it better for the Partner
  • Make it more cost effective for the Partnership

When evaluating the performance and friction points of the previous scheme, Waitrose noticed that:

    • It was admin heavy with only an inbox as visibility, that was invisible to the end user

    • No process was in place to move an idea through from evaluation to implementation

    • Heavy volume and email address being used for all stages made it hard to control or manage communication

    • It gave no visibility to the Partner that submitted the idea, as to what was happening

    • It had very little or no business wide engagement with the scheme, no successes to shout about, and as such getting buy in to deliver ideas was nearly impossible

    • An issue with processing and sharing duplicate ideas.

    With this in mind Waitrose needed to understand:

    • How technology could unlock solutions to these problems
    • How they could embed idea management and innovation into ‘business as usual’
    • How they could drive engagement back into the scheme, to give Partners a really positive experience

    The solution? The decision to entirely revamp Waitrose innovation scheme.


    Waitrose decided on Wazoku's idea management platform to amplify ideas, innovation and employee engagement with all Partners from head office to the shop floor, across all departments. Partner Ideas is the one single platform to engage all Partners and encourage new ideas, anytime, anywhere. Partner Ideas to ensure Waitrose as a business is constantly tasking itself to change and innovate and also putting their greatest asset (their people) at the heart of this process.

    Waitrose mission statement is at the heart of their approach.

    “Partner Ideas is an innovation platform, enabling our co-owners to suggest ways we can improve our Business by having conversations directly with process owners across the Partnership, working together to support our Business success”


      Waitrose Partner Ideas


      Engaging employees to submit ways to improve the business was not new to Waitrose, but leveraging the benefits of this is, and delivering them was hard to achieve successfully.

      The platform addressed many of the issues we were currently facing including:

      • Duplication - The platform would create a database of ideas, easily searchable, but also returns similar ideas as you begin to type your title.
      • Positive end user communication On registration each Partner creates their own personalised profile, meaning everything you do on the platform is mapped back to the Partners. Therefore, ideas are never lost, and it clearly shows what stage it is in (New, Review, Develop, Evaluate or Implemented). Furthermore, any communication simply comes straight back to administrators via notifications. Plus, you have the chance to vote and comment on other Partners’ ideas.
      • Reviewing ideas - The system allows you to set up workflows, which automatically move the idea through stages.
      • Administration - As everything is linked, communicating back and forth is all managed and documented in the idea, all notifications of any changes are automatic, and reviewing ideas is simplistic and straightforward.
      • Simple Idea Submission - From the site homepage you are one click away from the idea submission form, which populates your details and allows you to add pictures or documentation which are all held within the idea.


      Waitrose aimed to use a multitude of different ways to engage all business owners, stakeholders and end users. They did this through:

      • Using weekly publications to launch the scheme, including the Chronicle (with a high internal readership) with a potential audience of 53,000 partners internally
      • Providing the stores (350 of them) with posters, table talkers
      • Providing a new Intranet (internal communication app) with a signposted page and link to the website as well as a video of why ideas are important
      • Provided local managers with Business cards with quick QR code links.

      To aid ongoing communication outside of the scheme Waitrose uses regular publications such as:

      • Idea of the month
      • You Said We Did articles
      • Team meetings presentations
      • External publicity


      The success of Waitrose Partner Ideas scheme is down to the ongoing commitment and communication across the entire business and most importantly within the senior leadership of the business. Idea development is not free, and therefore unlocking the capital needed to implement ideas is critical to the success of their ideas scheme.

      To achieve this, Waitrose aligned business benefits (such as cost or time savings) that were uncovered through implemented ideas - and directly mapped these benefits to the budgets of directors that sponsored the idea. This approach diverted what was historically a small amount of capital from the annual budget to
      deliver a much higher return on investment.

      Waitrose Partner Ideas scheme has and continues to deliver clear value to the business year on year, resulting in a dynamic business that empowers Partner’s to have a voice and role in the whole innovation process.

      Read full story

      Waitrose store

      Stuart Eames Waitrose

      “Small ideas are here to stay, and generally impact and mean so much more to Partners, than the next big strategic change. Therefore using a system that allows any Partner, working anywhere in our business, whether driving a van, restocking shelves or managing the marketing POS, to submit an idea is very important. Idea Spotlight gives exactly that.” 


      © Copyright Wazoku 2021. All right reserved.