You fiercely oppose it opening a new store in your area and taking sales from local businesses.  You most likely took pleasure from the recent announcement that its profits declined for the first time since 1994.  But you probably shop there yourself when it’s convenient.  It’s fair to say that Tesco is the enemy of independent supermarket shopping.

But as the world’s third largest retailer, with more than 500,000 employees, where Tesco leads, the rest of the retail world follows.  So when I was invited to see the company’s chief executive Phil Clarke give a 45 minute presentation on making innovation happen, I jumped at the chance.  It was a fascinating session and Mr Clarke was very frank about where his business is winning and falling short and what convenience retail could look like in the next decade.

He had lots of advice that should inspire any business, even if you’re competing against him,

Phil Clarke’s 3 business tips:

1)  To innovate you must create the right mindset.

“Jack Cohen [the founder of Tesco] was an innovator to his fingertips. He travelled, visited other businesses, asked questions that sparked ideas and tried new things,” said Mr Clarke.

Tesco is currently running a trial of 173 ideas, captured and tracked on a weekly dashboard, to drive new products and services.

2) Data is important – experimentation is vital.

“Try, try and try again. If your experiment fails, ask yourself what was good about it. Encourage your staff to look for successes.”

He told the story of Tesco.com, which launched in 1995 and delivered late to two thirds of homes for its first Christmas. “We saw that it was the future and looked at what we could do better the next year. It is now the largest and most profitable online grocery business in the world.”

3) Develop mechanisms for rolling out successful innovations

“We are a blueprint-led organisation. Once innovations have proved successful, a blueprint is developed and managers are trained to speed the innovation around the world.”

Check out this week’s RN for the full article.

Also In this week’s issue we have also spoken to bosses from five of the UK’s top fascia groups.  RN’s future of symbol retailing roundtable features advice on who is doing convenience best, market threats and opportunities, and what your customers will want to buy in five years’ time.

Whether it is technological developments that will affect your store, or delivering great customer service and promotions that most appeals to you, both features are packed full of actionable advice.