Inspired Us: The Value Engineers

The People's Supermarket, the future of flight and pop-ups

The Value Engineers tell us what's inspired them this month.

For the People, by the People, to feed the People


The People’s Supermarket has opened in Holborn, it is an inspiring, disruptive and new business model which aims to supply local people with quality food, tempting them away from the traditional supermarkets. 

It wants to deliver the holy trinity of an economic, social and environmental triple win.

The People’s Supermarket’s operating principles are to have close relationships with producers that are geographically nearby so can offer fresh, local produce whilst supporting a healthier more sustainable economic model - based on stable prices paid to supplier. It is staffed by local volunteers who work up to 4 hours a week and gain discounts on any food they buy there. 

The People’s Supermarket now functions as a local community hub where many people know each other and enjoy connection and events.

The natural next step is the People’s Kitchen where they will cook up what would become food waste from the supermarket and serving it at an affordable price.   

It may not be a completely new idea but it does show that people aren’t just saying things need to change but acting on their beliefs. The revolution army marches on their ethically filled stomachs.

Ovo – putting its money where its mouth is


With Ovo in talks to acquire SSE, the energy industry upstarts are set to break into the Big Six.  So, it’s refreshing to see what will be a big utility brand taking a new tack and setting an example to the competition. 

Ovo has announced that it will offset its carbon footprint on all future advertising and marketing campaigns in a bid to be a more sustainable business. While other initiatives continue this new move is designed to negate the environmental impact of its marketing.  

The strategy will see doordrops axed in favour of digital media and outdoor powered by renewable energy.  Coupled with a strict flight policy and the requisite carbon offsetting, Ovo’s marketing is now walking-the-walk, rather than just paying lip-service to sustainability.  

In a cynical age, it’s good to see someone thinking more broadly about the green challenge, recognising every little helps. It also reminds all of us in marketing of the very real impact of seemingly innocuous business practices.

Business and art combine to imagine the Flight of the Future


British Airways (the business) have collaborated with Royal College of Art (the art) to imagine the future of flight.

The ideas, both physical and digital, are being presented at the Saatchi Gallery.
It is the work of 40 postgraduate students from the Royal College of Art who have been exploring trends and drivers from research commissioned by British Airways. The ideas come from looking through three lenses; aircraft, experience and people. There is also a focus on sustainability and technology to drive change.

The ideas range from 3D-printed personalised nourishment, to totally see-through or projected plane walls.  This tour of the Future raises some interesting points. The show-stealer for The Value Engineers, who went along, was the VR “flight” with 4D (3D movement and wind – which works surprisingly works well).  Flyers are given the chance to experience various ages of the flight of humankind.

For anyone involved in innovation, it is always inspiring to think beyond today and sometimes to leap or fly into the future.

Manolo Blahník - If the shoe fits


We went to the Wallace Collection to see the latest exhibition - An Enquiring Mind: Manolo Blahník and, while not quite as integrated as the promotional campaign, we loved the way they had integrated the shoes throughout the various rooms.

It’s inspiring us to think how we could do things we often do, but do them differently.

Beyond the day job

A couple of our colleagues clearly like a challenge and are stretching themselves, it’s an inspiration to us and interesting and inspiring for them also.

Lucinda Toole – a yogi take on inspiration


Lucinda is taking a yoga teacher training course which she describes as a “mindful side-hustle”.  She is loving the mixture of people, thinking and approaches to yoga she is encountering amongst the 30 aspiring yogis, who meet once a month. Then there is the challenging, open and intelligent course leader and some new philosophical concepts, the result of which she says are conversations “that will challenge not only how you see the world, but also how you see yourself.” 

It has also inspired Lucinda to think again about inspiration. She says that a really 'yogi' response might stand conventional thinking on its head. “We are often looking to things outside to spark inspiration or to teach us something new - a painting, a poem, a Ted Talk. The practice of yoga is about looking inside. An ambitious career builder might be resistant to the notion that slowing down and reflecting could result in feeling more energised, more excited and ultimately more inspired, but this is just one of the things I've learnt as I move through my training.” 

Tom Speed – What’s cooking


This summer, Tom has been running a pop-up restaurant in Pimlico. Not content with just eating and talking about food and food brands, he thought it was high-time he put his cooking to the test with the general public too. With menus inspired by the melting pot of New Orleans, and the vibrancy of a Mexican taqueria, the process of setting up, advertising and running a pop-up restaurant has challenged Tom’s creativity, as well as rekindled a deep appreciation for chefs and the world of food service. Above all, it has helped remind him that if you work in food, the most important thing is that it should taste great.

By The Value Engineers