Northumbrian Water Group (NWG) took its pioneering “Innovation Festival” online this year, attracting 3,000 attendees from more than 37 countries.
The online nature of the event did not stop it from producing the astonishing flurry of ideas it has for the utility and its partners in recent years and following the November festival, NWG has already granted almost £130,000 worth of funding to develop propositions resulting from the annual event.
Eight projects have also received financial backing in order to further improve the way the business operates, across customer service, staff well-being, leakage prevention and environmental impacts.
The festival is just one example of how NWG innovates and intelligently puts technology to use – the utility has also been recognised for its use of AI to support asset intelligence, including across 20 million electronic documents.
As a result, Tech Monitor is pleased to name it as a member of our 2020 Tech Leaders Index. (The Index showcases the innovative digital and IT projects that technology teams – and those managing those functions – are delivering for their organisations, and shows how innovations in technology, together with smart partnering with vendors, are transforming business models.)
CIO Nigel Watson set up Northumbrian Water Group’s Innovation Festival in 2017 to build on the success of the organisation’s open door hackathons which brought together start-ups, suppliers, regulators and tech vendors to try and tackle the company and the sector’s biggest business, resilience, technology and environmental challenges. Speaking to Tech Monitor’s Editor Ed Targett earlier this year during our CIO Symposium, he emphasised the importance of bringing partners, vendors, customers and internal teams on board with innovative programmes: one of the areas in which the company excels is tapping synergies across the region to not just enhance business performance, but support environmental and social goods as well; whether that is water savings, customised technology to track wastewater quality, or more.
Lead image courtesy of Unsplash.
Ed Targett was editor of Tech Monitor until December 2020 and previously led editorial at CBR.