NWG Innovation Festival

Business, Public Sector • Newcastle upon Tyne

An annual festival organised by Northumbrian Water Group, sparking big and exciting projects that go on to change the water sector for the better.

IF's story

Over the last seven years, Northumbrian Water Group’s annual Innovation Festival has brought together water and tech industry professionals to work together to produce solutions and viable outcomes to the challenges and issues currently facing the water industry – from leakage and spillages to water poverty and the impact of climate breakdown on water supplies.

The theme of the Innovation Festival for 2023 was ‘citizens’ and how to contribute to citizen-based activities that benefit society as a whole. Over 40 ideas were born at IF23 and, although not all of them have been progressed, many have been given kickstarter funding to grow. These new initiatives include:

Power Arrangers. This project, in partnership with technology company Siemens, looks at creating a circular economy for renewable energy. The aim is to make water treatment sites more resilient to power outages by using renewable technologies, as well as result in big energy savings and a lower carbon footprint.

Save Our Sewers. Four projects have been identified that will accelerate work to help improve the wastewater network. In partnership with software company, Esri, these include removing highway drainage from the sewer network, creating an interactive map that helps customers manage water that goes into the waste network, and a localised project in Marske-by-the Sea which ensures 100% of the network is used.

Dewatering the Economy. In partnership with Wave Utilities, this project improves business customers’ awareness around private pipework, mapping their network and helping them to understand their usage. This project is estimated to save 165 million litres of water per day over five years – saving water, money and lowering leaks.

The theme for IF24 is ‘speed and scale’ and will focus on growing good ideas at pace and on helping existing ideas from previous festivals to progress.

Useful learnings from IF

Bringing people together with different skills and knowledge is a catalyst for innovative thinking and breaking down barriers between organisations and sectors.

The pace and format of the ideation sessions – the sprints, dashes and hacks – help people move quickly towards prototyping solutions.

Seeking perfection or the best possible solution can interfere with moving ahead with something that is not only good enough but much better than what we have today!

IF's metrics

Number of attendees. Number of participating organisations. Universities and young people involved. Different countries represented in an increasingly international festival. Festival sponsors. Exciting, high potential ideas to come out of the festival!

Feeling inspired? Discover more about this story...

Positive Impacts

Less Waste

Response to climate crisis

Mitigation & Adaptation




Business, Public Sector, 250 to 10,000 people

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Updated Apr, 2024

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