Midges, No Water but a Genius Way of Thinking

Week 6 Update

Is it not
just perfect when a plan comes together? This week I feel I have been able to
watch all my work at Genius Foods Ltd in Edinburgh fall into place with some
fantastic outcomes, and yes, I am so proud of what I have achieved.

I have said
this a hundred times to a variety of people, so much so that they are sick of
hearing from me, but I love my internship. It is so corny and sentimental to
say, but I could not have asked to work for a better company this summer.

internship, on reflection, has allowed me to understand and carry out the
entire process of a category plan giving me the opportunity to work alongside
all areas of the business. This macro-level overview of a business clearly
highlights the advantages of working with a smaller company, allowing me to see
exactly what interests me and excites me about work. As well as meaning you do
not simply get lost among a big team of people!

Genius Business Update

So, what is
there to report from the business this week? Well, the Genius #myperfecttoast
campaign continues, this time to Latitude Festival! This was the busiest the VW
Campervan has been since it hit the road a few weeks ago and it is amazing to
see so many people learning more about the company!

In other news
more Genius product lines are just about to be launched in Asda stores! Plus,
Genius will be sampling products to customers in these stores in the next few
weeks. So watch out, Genius could be coming to an Asda near you!

The huge queue leading to the Genius #myperfecttoast Campervan at Latitude Festival

Research in Action

This week I
had an extremely unique opportunity to go and see research, that I had helped
commission for the company in my first week, take place in store. A fantastic
opportunity for anyone!

Being able to see the research take place
really brought to life for me how the various parts of the project I am working
on are coming together and also realise that the work I am doing is actually
reflecting the needs of real people, not just statistics!

Of course, I
cannot really elaborate on what the research was about precisely (I would not
want any competitors getting our incredible insight and stealing our ideas),
but I can say that it was a fantastic opportunity just to see how well Genius
is received by consumers coming into the 'Free From' market and will give the
company some amazing direction for the future.


This week I
have learnt all about 'planograms' which allow you to calculate the amount of
space that retailers allocate to certain categories of product in stores.

Each store
chooses to allocate this space differently in accordance to the trends they
expect to see in the category. For example, 50% of space in an ice cream
freezer may be allocated to Ben and Jerry's ice creams because they are the
leading line in ice cream.

My role
consisted of working out how stores were using the space they had and
calculating if they were using the space correctly, for example, even though
Ben and Jerry's may take up 50% of the freezer space it may only count for 35% and
therefore I could advice Mr Tesco to cut the amount of space taken up by Ben
and Jerry's and allow an ice cream brand that was doing well to take up more

I think this
just illustrates how much of a diverse role I carry out at Genius, it is
extremely strategic and it is inclusive of all areas of the company meaning
that my work will affect all areas of the business, especially in their advice
to retailers.

A weekend away Co-operating

 This week has
been busy not just in terms of my internship but also with my role on the
Co-operative Young Members' Board, as a Scottish Representative. Last weekend
was the first time the board have met up, 15 of us from all walks of life and
aging from 16 to 25. The weekend consisted of a residential at Lockerbrook Outdoors
Centre in the Peak District, a beautiful location, unfortunately lacking any
phone signal or internet access.

A view from a lovely walk at the Co-operative Young Members' Board Residential

The 15 of us
have been chosen to meet and work toward a new strategy for the Co-operative
which will engage the young generation and lead to business to a future that
not only supports young people but work towards causes that actually matter to
them. A huge task but one we are all so excited about!

The residential
gave us time to get involved in some challenging team building activities
organised by the staff at the Lockerbrook Centre and by Woodcraft Folk (a group
of young people set up to facilitate learning opportunities for youth groups),
such as a search and rescue session, forming a human pyramid and holding the
never-ending debate of whether a Jaffa Cake is a cake or a biscuit (the debate
was not resolved). Everyone commented on how well we worked together as a team
in everything we did and hopefully we can achieve the same success in the work
we do for the Co-operative.

In between
all the fun activities the weekend gave us a chance to learn about the history
of the business and think about the issues that are affecting young people in
today's society. It also gave us the opportunity to think about the ways in
which the Co-operative can work towards facilitating positive future change across
the UK through expanding their businesses into different sectors. It was this
that the CEO of the Co-operative, Euan Sutherland, whom I met a few weeks ago
in London, wanted us to focus on and feedback to the Executive Board at the

The Co-operative Young Members' Board on our Residential

I think the
phrase that stuck out to many of us over the weekend was a quote from TED talk
by Simon Sinek (if you do not know what TED talks are google it, honestly, they
are amazing!):

'People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do

It was this question of why that had the biggest impact on our thinking that weekend, making
us see that people need to buy into the reason behind your actions in order for
you to be successful in anything you do.

And trust me, 'why' was definitely the question
we were asking when on Saturday evening we were told there was no water at the
Centre and we would have to go without showers and flushing toilets for 24
hours because of the unusually hot weather the UK had been experiencing. That
definitely taught us a lot about 'Co-operation'!

After the weekend, although smelly and tired,
the train ride back to Edinburgh definitely gave me time not only realise how
inspired and encouraged I felt about my future with the Co-operative but in
general also. My time at Genius has taught me so much about business and the
world of work, I now just want to get my teeth into more exciting projects to
challenge my current skill set and provide me with new opportunities to learn!

My work with the Co-operative Young Members'
Group is so exciting and I honestly could not be working with a nicer or more
determined group of people. I know we are all going to gain so much by working
together and integrating our very varied perspectives of life and the world.

The Co-operative Young Members' Board Featured in US! Magazine this month on a 2 page spread!


A few things I have learnt this week:

Always ask yourself 'why' - It is crucial to always know why you are
working towards your goals. Do you know what you are trying to achieve? It is
this that will give you your passion, drive and determination.

Love what you do - It is ok doing a job that will pay well and buy you
something nice, but is it actually fulfilling or rewarding and something you want to do? Work can be loads of fun, as
well as challenging. I love waking up and being excited about my job!

Maths is possible - Before coming to my internship with Genius maths
seemed like a complete impossibility to me, now I am at a stage where I
actually believe I can get calculations right, practice makes perfect!

Healthy Competition is GOOD! - This week BFree have brought out a new
Gluten Free Wrap as a challenger in the category. The BFree wrap is
cheaper, it has half the calories, it actually looks like a 'normal' wrap and
it tastes so much better! It is fantastic to see so many new contributions to the Free From market even in the 6 weeks I have been with the company!