The grounds of Hanningfield Reservoir were turned into a hive of creative thinking and ingenuity today as Essex & Suffolk Water hosted the first ever ‘Day of Innovation′.

More than 250 innovation experts, scientists, engineers, designers, artists, customers and representatives from major global businesses came together in Essex for the special one-day event, which was designed to tackle 13 major social and environmental challenges.


The day built on the ideas generated at Northumbrian Water Group′s (which Essex & Suffolk Water is a part of) Innovation Festival 2018, which took place in Newcastle in July. The event saw 13 ‘sprint sessions′ take place, each tasked with a different social and environmental question to solve.


The Day of Innovation was an opportunity to develop and test the big ideas that came out of these sprints, through a series of workshops, tech demos and interactive presentations.


Some of the major ideas showcased and developed during the day included underground maps, wellbeing apps, travel assistance for the visually impaired, smart devices to monitor the water, ‘dog bogs′, self-sustaining homes and a ‘drop swap′ so people can save money as they save water.


A team from the ‘Blue Planet′ sprint even took the event on tour and headed into Billericay to speak to around 40 local businesses about becoming Refill stations, with many signing up on the day. Refill is the national campaign that urges people to ditch single use plastics by filling up their reusable water bottles at Refill points across the country.


All attendees at the Day of Innovation were encouraged to bring their own reusable bottles so they could make use of the Refill points on site.


It wasn′t all hard work, as attendees were able to take some time out from the sprints and problem solving with yoga sessions, mini treatments, mindfulness sessions, volleyball, a pub quiz, silent disco and lots of lovely ice cream!


NWG is taking a leading approach to innovation in order to make a real difference to its customers′ lives. Earlier this year the company won the Digital Innovation Award at the prestigious Business in the Community (BITC) Responsible Business Awards, in recognition for its innovative approach to reducing flood risk.


Organiser and NWG IS Group Director, Nigel Watson said: "It′s been a really fantastic day and a wonderful celebration of innovation and creativity.


"Some real game changing ideas came out of our Innovation Festival in July, and I′m so pleased that we′ve been able to bring that spirit to Essex as the ideas are brought to life.


"Of course the journey doesn′t end here, and we look forward to seeing these ideas develop further and start making real changes to our everyday lives.

At NWG we firmly believe that innovation is key if we are to continue delivering unrivalled experiences for our customers, and in our recent business plan submission to OFWAT we made the ambitious pledge to lead in innovation in the water sector and beyond.


"I′d like to thank everyone who attended today and made the Day of Innovation such a runaway success, from our customers who came along and gave their feedback to our employees who have worked so hard to make it happen."


For more highlights from the Day of Innovation follow Essex & Suffolk Water on Twitter - @ESWH2O or Facebook -