Innovation Challenge

Due to many schools being closed on Thursday 8 June due to the election, the deadline for this years’ Innovation Challenge has been extended to Monday 12 June 2017.


How would you transform a John Lewis Community Hub for the benefit of your community, and our business?

We’re looking for teams of 9-11 year olds to think without limits and share their innovative ideas for utilising a Community Hub. A Community Hub is a designated space within the heart of some John Lewis shops used for short and long-term customer-enriching experiences, events and exhibitions, serving both community (including charity) and commercial purposes. Combining the two as much as possible, the sky’s the limit for how the space can be utilised.

Our judging panel will award great prizes to the teams who push boundaries and think beyond the obvious. 1st place prize is a state-of-the-art Ultimaker 2 Go 3D printer for the team’s school, a tablet and a Technology Will Save Us make-it-yourself kit for each member of the team. The remaining teams in the top 10 will receive gift vouchers for their school and prizes per team member, download the Terms and Conditions for the full list. 

Reasons to participate

Taking part provides pupils with an opportunity to work in a team to collaborate, communicate, apply understanding and generate ideas – all vital innovation skills needed for any future career.

The supporting workshop, broken into five clear stages, enables you to coach teams, and we have structured it to simulate a real project environment:

  • An immersive experience - five expert John Lewis Partners set the scene for each stage via a briefing video with hints and tips for your teams
  • Suitable for cross-curricular objectives (including literacy, art and design and maths)
  • Use it in classroom activities or as part of a club.


  • Teams of up to five pupils aged between 9-11 years old can enter (schools can enter multiple teams)
  • Teams can submit their entries via, or through a combination of: written, drawn or video entries
  • All entries must include the team's completed Project Report
  • Only entries received by 23:59 on Monday 12 June 2017 will be accepted.



Submitting entries

There are three different ways to submit teams’ entries, depending on their format, either:

  • Posted to: Bringing Skills to Life, c/o Hopscotch Consulting, 328/9 Metal Box Factory, 30 Great Guildford Street, London, SE1 0HS
  • Emailed to:, (please note files over 8mb should be sent using the service below)
  • Sent to: using (please note that there is a file restriction of 2GB using this service).

Teams’ entries must comprise of their creative response to the challenge, and a completed Project Report per team. Download the Terms & Conditions below for full details.

Got a question? 

Don't hesitate to email if you have any questions about this competition.

To get started

Simply download the Innovation Challenge pack below (Welsh available). It includes everything you'll need to take part including a summary, worksheets and a workshop guide. The expert scene-setter videos support the pack. Good luck.


Meet our judges

We know a lot of time and energy will go into entries, so our judges have been selected as they’re experts in innovation, education and learning.

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Sarah Collinson
Innovation Manager at John Lewis

My job is about making sure John Lewis continually tries out new ideas and concepts and that as a business we're evolving with our customers.

My top tip: Focus on one idea at a time. Make sure you really nurture and give time to each idea as if it's your own. Once you've captured your idea (and it really helps to draw it out), you can move on to the next one.

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John Vary
IT Innovation Manager at John Lewis

My role is all about generating ideas and then bringing them to life for our customers.

I'm driven by a natural curiosity of our physical and digital worlds, and I explore how to merge these in multi-sensory ways to revolutionise how our customers engage with our brand.

My top tip: Start any project by exploring everything and capture what that means to your project. Refining ideas too early will limit what you can deliver.

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Emma Marchant
Sustainable Communities Manager at John Lewis

My role is to help ensure 'we do the right thing' in our communities across the UK.

I launched Bringing Skills to Life in September 2013 to foster innovative thought and action in children and to develop skills that will bring their imagination to life.

My top tip: Go beyond generating ideas, grow them by questioning every thought. Ask yourself - How would that work? What would it look like? What will people do, say and feel?

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Jo West
Business Development Manager, Shop of the Future at John Lewis

I work alongside the Store Design team creating innovative store environments, and investigating how our online business and our stores combine to give a great brand experience. I’m passionate about shops so it’s great working out how we continue to make shops relevant and engaging.

My top tip: Keep the end user in mind. It’s critical to put the customer's shoes on in your idea development and work out what they really need from the space and how you can make what you offer different and better than everyone else.

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Tiffany Barwick
Account Director at Hopscotch Consulting

My role at Hopscotch involves working with lots of different brands who wish to enrich the education and learning experience for students. Bringing Skills to Life is a wonderful programme which encourages students to develop their creativity and innovation skills and helps to broaden their understanding of what it means to be creative and how this can help you in a variety of ways.

Top tip: Never dismiss an idea. Listen to those around you - all ideas and opinions are valid and sometimes the best, most innovative solutions grow from the tiniest germ of an idea, that might have initially seemed irrelevant.