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Post Office opens design lab in London Road

London SE1 website team

Students and staff at London South Bank University could act as guinea pigs for new ideas for the future look and feel of Post Office branches.

Post Office opens design lab in London Road

The Post Office has opened a new design laboratory at London South Bank University's Clarence Centre for Enterprise and Innovation.

The Post Office Design Lab now occupies one of the centre's shopfront units on London Road.

While the Design Lab is not open to the public, the Post Office is considering how it can work with LSBU's academic staff and students to trial new services and systems.

The lab is a testing environment to help develop new products and services using self-service, automation and digital technologies.

The colourful space at LSBU contains booths where customers could get specialist advice via a video call, tablets for self-service, and a series of parcel drop-off points to speed up the process of posting, collecting and returning mail.

In a model that is proving successful for retailers such as Apple and Argos, traditional counters are gone in favour of "roaming" staff armed with tablets, while large touch-screen tables and wall panels are designed to encourage people to discover Post Office services and products for themselves.

The Design Lab will test which elements can be incorporated into various Post Office branches and models

"We wanted somewhere that could support our plans to develop a more agile, collaborative and innovative approach to product and service development," said Post Office's David McConnell.

"The Clarence Centre at London South Bank University offers us the chance to develop and test projects with student entrepreneurs and departments, as well as specialist local small businesses.

"The facilities are superb, and being located in central London it supports our need to easily bring together colleagues, commercial partners and external stakeholders."

LSBU vice chancellor David Phoenix added: "We are extremely pleased that the Post Office has chosen to use London South Bank University as the testing ground to develop a range of new technologies.

This exciting project will underpin the development of new business models and the partnership is a testament to our reputation as a university that understands the needs of business and where teaching and research have real-world impact."

Tours of the Clarence Centre will be available as part of Open House London on Saturday 20 September.

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