NWG Announce Innovation Festival 2018

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Some of the world’s leading businesses and most innovative minds will gather together again to tackle major social and environmental challenges at the Northumbrian Water Group’s Innovation Festival 2018.

The NWG Innovation Festival will see major national and global companies working with innovation experts, other businesses, local universities, schools and members of the public to come up with and explore innovative ways to help change the world.

The Festival will see teams from headline sponsors IBM, BT, Ordnance Survey, O2, Interserve, CGI, Explain Market Research, CBI, and Durham and Newcastle Universities line up alongside experts from the likes of Isle Utilities, Big Bang Partnership , Oracle, Mott McDonald Bentley, Rolta and a host of other partners, and work together to create ‘bright ideas for a better tomorrow’.

The five day event will take place at Newcastle Racecourse from 9th to 13th July, and it’s the second time the festival has ever been held, following its hugely successful launch last year.

2018 sees the whole event doubled in size compared to 2017 and it’s hoped that the festival will lead to some real-world innovative solutions and changes that can be brought to life – like the Newcastle Moss Tree, the water Refill campaign and the artificial intelligence projects – all of which are projects that came out of IF17 and that are making a real difference to the world right now.

Nigel Watson, Northumbrian Water Group Information Services Director, said: “The Innovation Festival is back for 2018 and it’s going to be even bigger and more ambitious than last year!

“We have some of the most innovative and creative minds from across the globe taking part in this celebration of creativity and we’ve set them one, pretty major and important, task – to try and change the world…so not that tough then!

“We’re asking some big questions that affect us all – how can the world save water? What is the future of transport? How can we help save the environment through single plastic use, pollution and by saving energy? And we’ve got experts from all of these areas together in one place for one week to come up with some solutions.

“Last year saw some truly amazing ideas come out of the festival and into fruition and I can’t wait to see what this year brings. It’s going to be a fantastic event for everyone involved, the North East region and hopefully the whole world!”

Some of the big questions under consideration during IF18 are:

·       Blue planet (Teenage Sprint) - How can we reduce the impact of single use plastics?

·       Every drop counts - How can we reduce water consumption by 110l by 2025?

·       Starting from scratch – How do you build the perfect water company?

·       What is the future of transport?

·       How can business improve the lives of people who are visually impaired?

·       Turning the tide – How can we help prevent flooding?

And as well as the ‘sprint sessions’ there will be hackathons, coding sessions, tech demonstrations, a virtual boat race, a scrapheap challenge and even some baking master classes from the WI!

The work to tackle the issues will take place in a true festival environment that will feature live comedy and music, mindfulness and relaxation sessions, special guests, and inspirational talks from innovative leaders from across the globe.

Pupils from local schools and colleges will also play their part in the festival. Not only are they leading and running their own ‘Blue Planet’ sprint looking at how we can reduce single use plastics, they will be onsite throughout the week and taking part in interactive sessions, workshops and challenges including The Poo Show, Mission to Mars, the Bloodhound Supersonic Car Project and a Robotics competitions!

People can find out more about what’s taking place at the NWG Innovation Festival, and how they can get involved, at https://innovationfestival.org/.