Fresh thinking

Welcome to our Innovation Lab

Applications now closed. If you applied you will hear back from us in the near future if you have made it to the next stage of the process.

About Innovation Lab

United Utilities Innovation Lab is breaking new ground in the water sector by creating a window for innovative businesses to partner with one of the biggest water companies in the UK. We want to tackle our key business challenges so we can provide better, more cost effective services for our 7 million customers. That means building relationships with businesses who share our vision, ambition and appetite for innovation - with the potential to lead to longer term commercial partnerships.

The 10-week programme will be run in collaboration with corporate innovation specialist L Marks. We advertised the Lab to some 1,500 fledgling, small and large businesses, starting in Spring 2017. After receiving applications from 80 outlets we narrowed that down to a shortlist of 22 and in December they came from far and wide to a pitch day where the seven succesful applicants were selected. The seven partners for the Lab will be co-located and mentored by senior United Utilities business leaders and get access to test, improve and demonstrate their product/service in live customer environments to key experts and decision makers.

United Utilities and L Marks will also provide potential investment opportunities, if the 10-week programme is a success.

Innovation lab story so far infographic

Pitch day

United Utilities has been listening to pitches from 19 different companies who may have hit upon the next big idea for the water industry. The successful pitches will go through to the next stage of the Innovation Lab process where their creators can develop them hand in hand with United Utilities at its Warrington HQ.

Meet the Innovation Lab partners


EMAGIN provides water and wastewater facilities with an operational intelligence platform that supports real-time decision making when controlling critical assets. In doing so, we’re helping facilities drive down operational costs, enhance reliability and prepare for emergencies.

discover emagin


Enging is a Portuguese SME specialized on the development of innovative industrial asset condition monitoring solutions, focusing on the latest IIoT technologies. The continuous working of Enging provides a paradigm shift in the maintenance industry, enabling the management of these assets to be done in a much more economical, efficient and simple manner.

Discover enging


HYDRAO is a world innovation leader in smart solutions for water conservation and management. The company is part of the French Tech initiative to drive digital innovation and growth, and has enjoyed rapid success in France, receiving multiple industry awards for its HYDRAO smart shower solution. Following the initial success of its HYDRAO shower solution, HYDRAO is continuing to develop further smart solutions to help drive water conservation and meet water-quality challenges for business organizations, government entities and consumers. These developments include new solutions for managing hospitality-industry water management, eco-building design and management, OEM smart-product design, corporate environmental policy support, and utility companies.

discover hydrao


The world gets smaller and better connected every year. As populations grow, industries and communities increasingly collide. This means regulations are only getting tighter, risks higher, and scrutiny more public. Now, thanks to social media, reputations built over years are destroyed overnight. It means getting to the source of environmental issues fast is no longer a ‘nice to have’ — it’s a must. Not knowing is no longer good enough. Envirosuite provides the most comprehensive and intuitive real-time monitoring, investigative and predictive environmental management software in the world. It’s the only solution available that offers the complete integration of odour monitoring, modelling, alerting, reporting, and incident management. Built on insights from 30+ years experience in environmental consulting, Envirosuite seamlessly converts data into action, enabling real action in real-time.

discover envirosuite


Datatecnics Corporation are pioneers of intelligent infrastructure. We are award-winning innovators creating, developing, and commercializing technologies with the capability to transform the way the world interacts with its physical infrastructure. We change passive infrastructure into advanced systems capable of real-time monitoring, predictive analytics and autonomous controls, delivering substantial productivity, efficiency, and operational gains for our clients. Our technologies embed intelligence within critical infrastructure, to protect assets worth billions, to deliver a new era of economic growth and competitiveness in water, energy and beyond.

Discover datatecnics


Typhon Treatment Systems Ltd. is a UK registered water treatment equipment manufacturing company formed in 2014 to develop ultraviolet (UV) light emitting diode (LED) water treatment technology. Typhon's equipment is designed to treat large volumes of water, and all of the innovative design features of this configuration can be applied to smaller systems, including residential flow rates. While we can make personal use and residential tap water systems, the basis of our development is utility-scale applications. In less than three years the power of commercially available disinfection-range UV LEDs has more than quadrupled. Typhon's patent-pending design enables our equipment to deliver an unequaled UV dose to the treated water. As UV LED output power and energy efficiency increase by leaps and bounds, Typhon will continue to develop our unique UV LED water treatment solutions.

Discover Typhon


Enzen is unique in providing a wide range of strategic advisory, engineering services and solutions from end-to-end for the power, water, gas and renewable energy sectors, supported by our specialised Business Units and unique Centres of Excellence. Our expertise, practised knowledge and implementation delivery covers transformation, technology optimisation, smart utility networks, operations, capital efficiency, asset management and mergers & acquisitions, amongst other areas, and helps to deliver high-quality, effective, need-specific solutions.

Discover Enzen

Updates from the Innovation Lab

Innovation Centre

Breaking down the barriers to new ideas in the water industry

Our Head of Innovation, Kieran Brocklebank, shares his views on innovation in the water industry and the launch of our Innovation Lab 10 week programme.

Datatecnics logo

Making Waves: How Datatecnics want to revolutionise the world of water

Datatecnics, a technology company based in Birmingham. “We’re a company who have set out to revolutionise global infrastructure markets” explains Suhayl Zulfiquar, the company’s Chief Operating Officer.

Hydrao logo

Making Waves: How Hydrao want to save water, one shower at a time

Vincent Bligny, CTO at Hydrao, told us about the company’s future plans in the water industry, and what innovation means to him…

Emagin logo

Making Waves: Meet Emagin and their AI tool, HARVI

Emagin, new to the UK, is a Canadian start-up which has developed an artificial intelligence system that helps facilitate decision-making within the water industry.

What's on offer?

Mentorship from United Utilities senior leadership

Product variation

Product validation from United Utilities stakeholders and customers

Co-location and testing

Co-location and testing in a live United Utilities centre environment

A network of external mentors with diverse market expertise

Gain investment

Opportunity to gain investment

About the partners

United Utilities logo

United Utilities is the UK’s largest listed water company and manages the regulated water and wastewater systems in North West England - which includes Cumbria, Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside with a combined population of nearly seven million. United Utilities' headquarters are in Warrington. Its shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange and the FTSE 100 Index.



L Marks is a corporate innovation specialist and early-stage investor. They build bridges between large corporates seeking to innovate more quickly with companies with disruptive technologies, products and services. Founded in 2012 by serial entrepreneur Stuart Marks, they run bespoke partnership programmes across industry sectors, supporting rapid innovation and connecting them with the best businesses.

They work with clients such as John Lewis, BMW and International Airlines Group (IAG) to identify where they believe the challenges are in their businesses and then turn these into opportunities for improvement and innovation. Each programme is tailored to deliver real solutions to the corporate partners and create real opportunities for businesses to test and grow their product with a major partner.