Improving the travel experience for millions of passengers through an industry-first innovation programme

London Midland

For train operator London Midland, continually improving passenger experience is a top priority. We collaborated with them on the design and execution of an industry-first innovation programme. Our joint aim was to collaborate with mobility-focused startups, passengers and the wider industry to develop solutions to some of the train operators biggest challenges. In 12 weeks we’ve helped London Midland to start working with emerging technology companies, get a deeper understanding of their passengers pain points and use technology to help overcome them.


London Midland are a leading train operator, providing over 75 million journeys to passengers all over the UK. They came to us with a clear mission – to identify where their customer experience could be improved and help them to quickly remedy these frictions. For rail, what constitutes the customer experience is broad: it’s everything from planning a trip and booking, to being inside the station and being on-board a train. Problems can occur at multiple points and it’s hard to fix things quickly, if at all, with many issues being out of an operator’s control, a symptom of many stakeholders and organisations being involved in the average journey.

Our Approach

Working closely with the senior team at London Midland, we created and executed Labs by London Midland; an innovation programme to nurture nimble startups whose solutions align to many of the problems they’re trying to solve. Following a successful selection process, we enrolled 10 startups, solving problems in areas such as payments, accessibility and congestion management. During the 12 week programme itself, we designed and facilitated a series of in-person sessions, designed to help the startups refine their product and proposition with the rail industry squarely in mind. London Midland staff were on hand to offer mentorship, while we used our in-house team of strategists, designers and engineers to help each startup craft a prototype of their product or service which we tested with real customers.


Following the 12 week programme, we held a Demo Day – a gathering of key industry players, startup investors, public sector stakeholders and press to hear presentations from our 10 startups on what they’ve co-created with London Midland in this time.

Launching London Midland Labs

The impact of the inaugural Labs programme was felt immediately - 7 out of the 10 startups were awarded contracts with London Midland, with their products soon to be launched as pilots with real customers.