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Walmart designs tech incubator for emerging predictive technologies

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Walmart upped the cool factor when designing its first-ever technology incubator.

The lab, called Walmart Tech ATX, is located in a renovated warehouse in Austin, Texas, considered a hotbed of tech talent. The building houses tech professionals from both Walmart and Microsoft, with the team focused heavily on the development of emerging predictive technologies.

The building carries the sleek, industrial feel of its former warehouse design, the original location of the Alamo Drafthouse movie theater. The space also features a mural by local artist Mike “Truth” Johnston. The mural design blends the heritage of both Walmart and the city of Austin, with iconic images like Sam Walton’s red pickup truck, the Austin skyline and the Alamo Drafthouse.

The space is decorated with an eclectic color palette and furniture from Walmart’s online store, as well as its online brands, Hayneedle and Jet.com. The office features high desks and chairs, as well as pockets of seating space for different teams, creating a warm, comfortable environment resembling a living room rather than a traditional office.

The designer behind the vision is Katey Barron, director of IT program management at Walmart Technology. Barron joined the discount giant in 2012 as a temporary worker in Walmart’s then-new Innovation Lab — this concept has since evolved into Walmart’s tech incubator Store No. 8. At the time, she was responsible for company leadership tours of the futuristic technologies that could help empower associates and make different areas of the business more efficient like machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Over time, Barron realized she had an interest in the startups that were presenting their technologies to Walmart, experience that earned her a position helping to renovate Walmart’s David Glass Technology Center and design Exchange, a co-working space for select startups in Bentonville, as well as Walmart Tech ATX.

“My passion for design comes from wanting to serve startups and give them what they need — and really, I’ve just always loved furniture,” Barron said. “At Walmart Tech, these associates genuinely enjoy being around each other and diving into the work they do. We wanted to make it a space they could be comfortable in, proud of and enjoy coming to work every day.”

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Target’s shipping boxes get a new look

BY Marianne Wilson

Target is giving its shipping boxes a distinct look just in time for the holidays.

The discounter, which previously announced free two-day shipping for the holidays, has enhanced its shipping boxes with three playful designs that revolve around Target’s signature mascot, Bullseye. The designs feature Bullseye pulling up in a Target delivery truck, scampering around the house, and peeking out of a Target box. The retailer plans to use the boxes to ship orders into the new year.

“Target’s new shipping boxes help elevate the everyday,” said Todd Waterbury, Target’s chief creative officer. “We wanted to take a routine interaction, like receiving a shipping box on your doorstep, and turn it into an expression of joy using Target’s iconic branding. We took a unique creative approach to each of the three box designs, so that it brings to life our mascot Bullseye in a different and playful way, that’s unmistakably Target for our guests.”

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Hy-Vee offers free A1C screenings this month

BY Sandra Levy

As National Diabetes Awareness Month kicks off, Hy-Vee is offering free Hemoglobin A1C screenings throughout its eight-state region during the month of November.

The free Hemoglobin A1C screenings will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis at the Hy-Vee Healthy You Mobiles in 168 Hy-Vee store parking lots.

Hy-Vee registered dietitians will conduct a simple blood test, and review the results with individuals immediately following the test.

Hemoglobin A1C is a blood test that individuals with diabetes use to manage their blood glucose levels, and provides information about an individual’s average levels of blood glucose over a two- to three-month period.

Hy-Vee credited the following organization for making the screenings possible: Cabot, Chobani, Dexcom, McKesson, Novo Nordisk, Omax Health, OneTouch, Smart Chicken, Sola and Stemilt.

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