From 10-14 July 2017, NWG held their first Innovation Festival, a showcase of innovative thinking and new technology. A truly unique event, it tackled six problems by applying design thinking techniques to try to solve them in five action packed days.

The focus on innovation was mashed up with the feeling of a summer festival featuring a tented village and fun events every evening to engage various groups in the North East of England. All held in a truly unique venue at Newcastle Racecourse. 

We hope you enjoyed the event, and would like to gather your feedback, to understand what you enjoyed, and areas where you felt we could improve the Festival. We have commissioned an independent research agency, Explain, to carry out this survey, which should take between 5-7 minutes to complete. We appreciate your time in providing your feedback on the Festival.  




The Audience

The crowd at the festival will include senior managers from Northumbrian Water and CKI group companies including 3, UK Power Network, Northern Gas Network. We will also be inviting other energy and water companies to showcase the innovation of the North East. We have engaged with the local Creative Fuse organisation which brings together the five large universities in the region. They will be using this event as a springboard for the creative and digital businesses in the region. At certain times during the event, we will be opening up the doors to invited groups from schools and universities and other business groups in the region.

The Location

Newcastle Racecourse is a spacious and relaxed environment, only 15 minutes from the centre of Newcastle and easily accessible from the A1 and A19. There are a range of accommodation options onsite and nearby and ample parking at the venue. The festival activity will take place in the racecourse’s marquee village, with a selection of different marquees hosting the programme of events for circa 400 people each day of the festival.

In summary: -

  • Be part of a truly unique event
  • Be at the forefront of NWG’s Strategy
  • Establish your company as a Thought Leader at the forefront of innovation
  • Influence the industry and be seen as a solution provider for a particular issue
  • Promote your organisation before, during and after the event
  • Gain a greater organisational insight,
  • Identify commercial opportunities and co-create value – interacting with leaders and
  • Decision makers from across NWG, CKI and other water utilities
  • Build relationships with strategic decision makers
  • Expand your talent pool, with attendees from local universities

We hope that you’re inspired to join us!

Best wishes




We are thrilled to be hosting this event in the beautiful natural surroundings of Newcastle Racecourse. Our aim is to inspire the creation of more innovative ideas than any event ever. In order to free our minds, we decided to give the event the feel of a British Summer Festival (think “Bake Off”). The Marquee Village and the first class facilities of the Racecourse are just perfect!

CLICK HERE to download our map for the event.

Newcastle Racecourse,
High Gosforth Park,
Newcastle upon Tyne,

E: mailto:helen.forster@nwl.co.uk


The event will see headline sponsors IBM, Reece Innovation, CGI, Ordnance Survey and BT working with other businesses, universities, schools and members of the public to look at a range of issues, including flooding, leakage and the environment.

The NWG Innovation Festival is also being delivered in association with Newcastle University, Durham University, Genesys, Interserve in partnership with Amec Foster Wheeler, Costain Resources, PC1, Tech Mahindra, Mott MacDonald Bentley (MMB), Wipro, Virgin Media Business, Schneider, Wheatley Solutions, Sopra Steria, Accenture, 1Spatial, Infosys, Unify, ITPS, Esh-MWH, and Pen Test Partners.



Any media wanting to know more about or to attend the festival should call 0191-3015678 or e-mail externalcommunications@nwl.co.uk.

Global Innovators Come Together To Tackle Social And Environmental Issues!

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

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, 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, and a special hackathon, will be the headline sponsors, IBM, 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

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

'Keep It Flowing’: What do we know about leakage from water pipes and how can we fix it?  Led by NWG and running alongside a Microsoft-led Hackathon of data relating to leakage.

• ‘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.”