Project Description

Children develop gender-related stereotypes around careers as young as 5 years old, according to research carried out by Tesco Labs, Tesco’s research and development team.

As those same gender stereotypes slowly unravel across aspects of modern society, careers in tech are still very much a male dominated environment (men outnumber women 7 to 3). But technology already touches much of our lives and its trajectory is set to fast and forwards.

So how do we make sure that the 4th industrial revolution gets the best candidates from across the gender divide?


Cubetto is the coding toy without a screen for girls and boys aged 3 and up. Inspired by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori‘s early learning methods and MIT’s programming language LOGO, Cubetto is powered by a playful programming language you can touch.

Tesco’s Labs is the team dedicated to building a culture of innovation across the business and to inspire people to think about new ways of doing everyday things. One such initiative was an event designed for 5-6 yr olds, to get them excited about technology in retail, whilst dispelling any preconceptions about those careers being male-oriented. Tesco Labs used Cubetto as the hook and the delivery mechanism.

Working closely with the Tesco Labs team, Ape designed and produced a suite of materials for the sessions held in local schools. Working on a playmat showing the layout of a supermarket based on a simple grid, the children assembled a flatpack mini trolley and fixed it to the top of the Cubetto. Their task was to guide their friendly robot trolley around the store to collect a selection of objects. Read more about Cubetto here


The Ape team were fantastic to work with – taking what was a new,
unique brief, and turning it into a really user-friendly
solution which met our goals exactly.

Jessica Watkins
Open Innovation Manager
Tesco Labs

Want to bring a new, unique idea to life?

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