Global innovators come together to tackle social and environmental issues

Nigel Watson

25.05.2017

Some of the world’s leading businesses are coming together to tackle major social and environmental challenges at an unique week-long Innovation Festival.

Picture shows Nigel Watson, Northumbrian Water Group’s Information Services Director.

The event, organised by Northumbrian Water Group (NWG), will see major national and global companies working with other businesses, universities, schools and members of the public to look at a range of issues, including flooding, the environment and social inclusion.

The Innovation Festival will see headline sponsors IBM, Microsoft, Reece Innovation, CGI, Ordnance Survey and BT leading search for answers.

The NWG Innovation Festival aims to bring together the best innovative minds, using design ‘sprint’ thinking to explore and create new solutions to some of the biggest social and environmental challenges we face.

Also involved in running the special focussed ‘sprints’, which apply leading design thinking techniques to problem solving, will be the headline sponsors, IBM, Microsoft, Reece Innovation, CGI, Ordnance Survey and BT.

The Northumbrian Water Group Innovation Festival takes place at Newcastle Racecourse from July 10 to July 14, with 400 people expected to attend each of the five days. The work to tackle six key problems will take place in a true festival environment that will also feature live comedy and music, as well as inspirational talks.

The big questions under consideration during the week are:

‘Rain, Hail or Shine’: How can we reduce flooding? Led by headline sponsor IBM

‘Keep It Flowing’: What do we know about leakage from water pipes and how can we fix it? Led by NWG

‘Preparing for the Future’: How do we upgrade our infrastructure for the 21st Century effectively and affordably? Led by headline sponsor Reece Innovation

‘Tomorrow’s World’: What will living and working look like in 2030? Led by headline sponsor CGI

‘How Green is Your City?’: What can businesses do to improve the environment in the North East? Led by headline sponsor Ordnance Survey

‘21st Century Reach’: How can we optimise a mobile workforce for a complex network business? Led by headline sponsor BT

Also supporting the NWG Innovation Festival are Newcastle University, Genesys, Interserve, Costain Resources, PC1, Tech Mahindra, Mott MacDonald Bentley (MMB), Wipro, Virgin Media Business, Schneider, Wheatley Solutions, Sopra Steria, Accenture and 1Spatial.

Young people will be welcomed into the Festival with the opportunity for five lucky sixth formers to join each sprint group. There will also be a separate schools challenge, facilitated by Reece Innovation, to design the teenager’s bedroom of the future. Younger children will have the opportunity to join in the fun in a ‘mini maker fayre’, hosted by the Centre for Life in Newcastle.

Members of the public will be able to join in the festival experience by winning a ‘Golden Ticket’, which will be given out in a lucky draw in June.

Nigel Watson, Northumbrian Water Group Information Services Director, said: “Northumbrian Water Group is really excited to be leading this fantastic celebration of creativity, working with some major global and national innovators.

“As an innovative business, we are always looking for new learning, new technology and new ideas. Great innovation has purpose behind it and what better purpose than to solve some of the significant social and environmental challenges we face today.

“I know that everyone who joins us at the festival will meet new people, be inspired by what they see and hear and have a heap of fun – all while delivering some great solutions to the questions posed.”

People can find out more about what’s taking place at the NWG Innovation Festival, and how they can get involved at https://innovationfestival.org/.

For further media information, call 0191 3015678.

Northumbrian Water Limited supplies 2.7 million customer in the North East with both water and sewerage services, trading as Northumbrian Water, and 1.8 million customers in the South East with water services, trading as Essex & Suffolk Water.

In the most recent survey by the Consumer Council for Water, Northumbrian Water was named the UK’s most trusted water company by its customers, while 2017/2018 customer satisfaction scores placed the company in joint first place. 2017 also saw Northumbrian Water named the world’s most ethical water company for the seventh successive year.

Abbey Road, Pity Me, Durham DH1 5FJ. Telephone 0345 6047468. Website: www.nwl.co.uk

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