Lead Digital Innovation & Research Manager

Last updated 4 hours ago
Location:Greater London
Job Type:Full Time

Salary: Competitive
Shift Pattern: n.a

About Us

LNER is the rail company that stepped in and took over the East Coast mainline after Virgin Trains East Coast. We began our journey on Sunday 24 June 2018 and we have ambitious plans to change the face of train travel. We want to create a service everybody loves, that our people are proud to work for and helps the communities that we’re part of, to flourish.

We kept our promise to maintain a seamless transition between old and new. While doing that, we launched the future of rail travel, with our new Azuma train. It’s already a great success, introducing more seats, more space and above all, punctuality.

Whether you’re nipping to your auntie’s for cake and a cuppa, braving a meeting with the boss or treating the kids to a day of candy floss and sandy toes. We’re with you. Making it happen. Connecting towns and cities, people and places with pride.

Everything we do at LNER is geared towards delivering great experiences for our passengers, our colleagues and our communities.

Together, we’re driving innovation and transforming rail travel. By being on time, having more trains and more seats, to the huge leaps in engineering like our stunning Azuma train.

People, places and moving forward are top of our list. We embrace the communities that we operate in, welcome change and are determined to constantly improve everyone’s travel experience across the nation. Not only that, our team is proud to be part of LNER and because of this, they deliver a great service. A service better than anyone else because they care a little bit more.

That’s what makes us LNER.

The Role

Lead Digital Innovation & Research Manager

How about this for a job? Sounds fun doesn't it? We hardly need to write an advert... But we thought you might like to know a little bit about one of the most exciting roles in the travel industry today.

At LNER we are guiding the industry around innovation to solve major issues affecting our customers and People. We have an aspiring five-year plan and the resource and funding to deliver digital transformation and a step-change in travel.

We are on a journey to revolutionise the business for our customers and people, addressing key areas the customers journey, to impact the User Experience to drive review and sustainable future growth. We're looking for someone who is passionate about delivering rapid and ambition digital innovation at scale – is positive, can influence and inspire, and is a great problem solver, focused on proactive solutionising and ideation.

The Digital Innovation & Research Manager role will support the Head of Digital Experience Strategy which included Digital Innovation and is responsible for understanding the key LNER customer and employee priority problem points and exploring opportunities and innovative options to enable digital solutions to be created.

The Digital & Innovation Manager will be a strong relationship builder both across LNER colleagues and with technical strategic partners and having a strong understanding of technology and customer insight to drive LNERs adoption of Innovation in digital. An R&D fund of approx. c.£1m will be managed to develop a proof of concepts to support the development of business cases for full technical solutions. The Digital & Innovation Manager will be strong in leading rapid innovation teams, focusing on testing, learning in POCs, failing fast and capturing learnings, and able to productionise successful POCs quickly, working with a team and supporting functions, to bring innovation into the business at high speed and quality.

The Digital Innovation & Research Manager will solve problems and identify opportunities by sourcing innovative solutions from the marketplace.

The travel, rail, technology and digital industries have many suppliers, from niche to multi-national, that have developed numerous products, services and intellectual property that could be utilised to help LNER achieve its corporate objectives and digital strategy. This role will identify and prioritise what would add the most value for LNER.

The role will also identify areas where LNER should experiments as it could create a competitive advantage, or a gap exists in the market.

What will you be doing?

  • Expanding the LNER knowledge base through forming partnerships with academic institutions, centres of excellence and expert suppliers across rail, transportation, technology and digital sectors.
  • Vetting and selecting suitable suppliers and partners capable of supporting the delivery of innovative systems, technology and processes.
  • Creating and communicating clear work packs including timeline, stage gates, resource requirements and progress to key stakeholders – ensuring delivery on time and to budget
  • Support the digital team with the development of compelling business cases as required
  • Reviewing technical proposals and make recommendations on how to proceed
  • Managing innovative pilots, proof of concepts and first-of-a-kind with KPI's to prove concepts – documenting clear KPIs, objectives and engaging stakeholders in overall project plans.
  • Scheduling and holding innovation events and hackathons – onboarding suppliers as required to manage events.
  • Driving innovation and generate intellectual property in technology areas relevant to LNER
  • Work with the Head of digital experience strategy and the UX manager to make sure that key priority business problems are understood and that innovative solutions are being sought and presented in line with these.
  • Manage a budget of c.£1m to develop and lead on innovation proof of concept projects
  • Advise where new technology, AI, geo tagging, machine learning, etc can help deliver LNERs CX vision.
  • Ensure that Innovation continues to thrive within LNER culture working closely with the Digital Business Engagement Manager to promote innovation.
  • Network and explore to ensure LNER is aware of future technology opportunities and trends and that these are being presented and considered for LNER digital solutions.
  • Ensure LNER are submitting and winning FOAK and other innovation competitions to enable POC funding for key opportunities.
  • Keep abreast of LNER competitor and wider experience technology to make sure that
  • opportunities are known and considered – and plan research trips as required (UK and
  • European), and best in class company visits.
  • Maintain a secondary competence role for the purpose of contingency planning
  • Ensure relevant training and competencies are gained and maintained in order to resource our continued service during times of disruption.
  • Prior experience of working with DfT/ accessing funding an advantage but not essential
  • Innovation design practice an advantage but not essential
  • Experience working in Agile teams an advantage
  • A degree in engineering, physics or science an advantage
  • Experience of any of the following would be an advantage AI, Systems Engineering,
  • Electrical and Controls engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Safety systems and CE marking, Robotics, machine vision, motion control, materials science.

Of course, with this being such a specialist role there are a few thigs we need you to have;

  • Strong technical background with a proven track record in complex problem solving and technology evaluation;
  • Flexibility and resiliency with change and business pressures with the ability to work in a high volume, fast-paced environment with changing priorities.
  • Ability to use a significant degree of initiative and work autonomously without reference to a senior member of staff, including prioritisation;
  • Experience of self-generating work or expediting assigned tasks demonstrating a high level of organisational skill.
  • Excellent verbal and written communications skills to support the management of a diverse range of stakeholder relationships.
  • Able to provide clear and concise documentation to report results and progress.
  • Passion for investigation, problem solving and improvement.
  • Able to define work package content, stage gated programs and resource requirements;
  • Ability to engage and inspire others.
  • Ability to draft and present compelling business cases with clear results articulated;
  • Coaching capability that develops team competence, and approach to innovation;
  • Must be collaborative and a good team player.
  • Keeping abreast of latest technology and processes and creating regular knowledge share across the Digital & Innovation Dept and wider business as appropriate, including sharing of conference content, trends, supplier findings etc.

Sounds exciting doesn't it? Do you want to be all things innovation for LNER? Feel you can guide the industry & make some real change?

If so, it's time to update your CV & click "apply". We look forward to reading your application.


What We Offer

We’re very picky about who works for LNER. So when you wear the LNER uniform, you have to be at the top of your game. Our customers expect the very best service and we expect you to deliver it.

In return, you’ll receive a competitive salary. Oh, and throw in a benefits package traditionally described as ‘generous’.

This includes;

  • Free travel on LNER trains for you and your dependants
  • 75% off other Train operating companies (again for you and your dependants)
  • Discounted international travel after one years service
  • 50% discount for friend and family
  • Generous pension scheme

Along with various schemes and offers

Your Application

What happens next?

We promise we’ll let you know as soon as we can the outcome of your application and/or any testing you do.

If you are successful, you’ll be invited along to an interview or to take part in one of our assessment centres. These can include interview, group exercise, role play, or more tests (we have lots of industry standard tests that help us keep everyone safe!). During these sessions, we’ll get to know more about you and you can also make sure we are right for you – it’s a two-way process!