The NWG Innovation Festival, now in its third year, is a truly unique event taking social and environmental challenges and applying exciting problem solving techniques, such as design sprints, data hacks and workshops over five action packed days.  

The focus is on innovation mixed up with a summer festival feeling, featuring a marquee village, 14 huge challenges tackled in a fun and focused way, STEAM activities to inspire the next generation, evening entertainment to chill-out at and health & wellbeing activities so you leave the festival feeling younger than you arrived.

This year’s theme is Great North by North East. We will be celebrating all that is great in the North East in partnership with many of the great institutions that work and live here.

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NWG’s Innovation Festival is a five day event with a range of activities including Design Sprints, Data Hacks, Daily Dash and a years’ worth of work in a week.



 “In total more than 3,000 people have attended the two previous festivals from 650 businesses and organisations.”


 NEW FOR 2019

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Building upon the previous two successful festivals we’re bringing a number of new elements to 2019:

  • “Get a year’s worth of work done in a week” – 60 focused minds on a project = 2100 hours! It’s an opportunity to accelerate an existing project without the usual constraints in the office. Project on steroids!! 

  • Innovation Garage – a space where people can get hands on with innovative new equipment and bring the festival ideas to life by creating physical and digital prototypes.

  • Increased collaboration and networking – come and meet new contacts from NWG and many other cross-sector businesses and organisations.

  • Celebration of the North East’s great institutions and organisations – with flash talks and activities from local companies including Seven Stories, Centre for Life and Festival of Thrift.

  • More STEAM activities than ever before – Including an innovative careers event, beach litter sculptures and make-a-thons.

  • Innovation showcase – showcasing the Fruits from the Festival; demonstrating the innovative projects that have sprung from the previous festival projects.

With two successful festivals under our belts, we’re preparing to push the boundaries of innovation for our 2019 Festival. I continue to be amazed by the creativity of our extended family that shape the event. I’m confident that it will surprise, delight and inspire the attendees, leading to loads of co-creation of great ideas to improve our lives and the environment.
— Nigel Watson, Northumbrian Water Group Information Services Director


In 2018 the Innovation Festival doubled in size compared to 2017 and lead to some real-world innovative solutions and changes that are currently being brought to life – like Barnacle - a tiny smart device that will sit inside customers’ cisterns and remotely detect water leaks and report problems with their water supplies.

Some of the world′s leading businesses and most innovative companies gather to take part in the festival, including; Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Arsenal football club, O2, IBM and Ordnance Survey.

The previous two festivals have brought together…..

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Here are some of the highlights from last years Innovation Festival:

If you would like a more in depth look at last years amazing festival, plus detailed outcomes on each of the sprints, please click the button below:

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