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Essex and Suffolk Water hosts first 'Day of Innovation'

Essex & Suffolk Water hosted its first ever 'Day of Innovation' on 18 September as more than 250 innovation experts, scientists, engineers, designers, artists, customers and representatives from major global businesses came together to tackle 13 major social and environmental challenges.

The event, held on grounds of Hanningfield Reservoir, built on the ideas generated at Northumbrian Water Group's Innovation Festival 2018, which took place in Newcastle in July. The event saw 13 ‘sprint sessions' take place, each tasked with a different social and environmental question to solve.

The Day of Innovation was an opportunity to develop and test the big ideas that came out of these sprints, through a series of workshops, tech demos and interactive presentations.

Some of the major ideas showcased and developed during the day included underground maps, wellbeing apps, travel assistance for the visually impaired, smart devices to monitor the water, ‘dog bogs', self-sustaining homes and a ‘drop swap' so people can save money as they save water.

A team from the ‘Blue Planet' sprint even took the event on tour and headed into Billericay to speak to around 40 local businesses about becoming Refill stations, with many signing up on the day. Refill is the national campaign that urges people to ditch single use plastics by filling up their reusable water bottles at Refill points across the country.

Attendees were also able to take some time out from the sprints and problem solving with yoga sessions, mini treatments, mindfulness sessions, volleyball, a pub quiz and a silent disco.

NWG is seeking to take a leading approach to innovation in order to make a real difference to its customers' lives. Earlier this year the company won the Digital Innovation Award at the prestigious Business in the Community (BITC) Responsible Business Awards, in recognition for its innovative approach to reducing flood risk.

Organiser and NWG IS group director Nigel Watson said: "It's been a really fantastic day and a wonderful celebration of innovation and creativity.

"Some real game-changing ideas came out of our Innovation Festival in July, and I'm so pleased that we've been able to bring that spirit to Essex as the ideas are brought to life.

"Of course the journey doesn't end here, and we look forward to seeing these ideas develop further and start making real changes to our everyday lives.

"At NWG we firmly believe that innovation is key if we are to continue delivering unrivalled experiences for our customers, and in our recent business plan submission to Ofwat we made the ambitious pledge to lead in innovation in the water sector and beyond.

"I'd like to thank everyone who attended today and made the Day of Innovation such a runaway success, from our customers who came along and gave their feedback to our employees who have worked so hard to make it happen."

Author: Robin Hackett, editor, WWT
Topic: Innovation
Tags: Essex & Suffolk Water , Innovation , Northumbrian Water

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