February 2018 saw the launch of our first Innovation Lab, the first of its kind in the UK.
We set out a challenge against five priority areas where we wanted to be better at what we do. These included; ‘connected water and customer’; ‘proactive customer actions’; ‘predictive asset maintenance’; ‘safe and healthy worker’ and the catch all ‘future of water’. Advertising to 1,500 suppliers the aim was to reach out to people working in other sectors and countries.
We received 80 applications, 55 of which were from organisations new to working with us. The list was narrowed down to 22, with people being invited to pitch their ideas.
Seven successful finalists, named our Innovation Lab Partners who impressed with their pitches were then selected to join us in our Warrington headquarters’ Innovation Centre.
Out of the seven to join the lab, five had never worked in the UK water industry before, and the companies came from worldwide including France, Portugal, Canada, Australia, India and the UK.
In the 10 weeks we delivered six field trials, engaged with over 100 customers. The successful ideas have led to supply agreements and or further development in the technologies.