La Poste (France) has rapidly implemented two new services to support the continued education of children during lockdown. In partnership with the Ministry of Education, which also provided the funding, the goal was to ensure that families with no home computer or internet connection would still be able to access learning materials and homework for their children. La Poste has a team dedicated to developing new community-focused products and services. This demonstrates forward thinking and is a manifestation of the principle that a service can both deliver a social mission and generate revenue. Key success factors in these projects include La Poste’s commitment to and experience in offering social services, its existing plans for educational services, and its well-resourced, motivated and diverse project teams.
La Poste’s approach is a practical way of addressing digital and educational inclusion that utilizes the postal network to meet the immediate needs of families and national government. With sufficient resources, it should be possible for other designated operators to offer similar services. The fact that these services were developed prior to the pandemic is encouraging, as it suggests that La Poste may be able to continue to offer them after the crisis has ended. Key success factors appear to be:
- A strategic decision to offer social services and prior experience in doing so;
- Well-resourced and motivated project teams;
- The establishment of a business unit focused on new community services;
- The selection of projects with clear and direct social benefits;
- The inclusion of experts with diverse postal and production knowledge.