Northumbrian Water’s Innovation Festival is going digital for the first time, and it’s teamed up with some HUGE global names for a new and virtual experience.

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With COVID19 throwing a spanner in the works for the water company’s live event plans, it’s now offering up an online festival alongside some of the most influential and innovative organisations from right across the globe.


The Innovation Festival, which was originally planned for July, will now be taking to the digital airwaves and switched on from 14-17 September where festival attendees will still be able to take part in online sprints and challenges to help solve real world issues.


They’ll be joined by the likes of confirmed partners Wood, Wipro, Aiimi, CGI, IBM, Isle Utilities, Microsoft, Ordnance Survey, O2, UKPN and Visa, who will head up their own unique, virtual workshops to seek out ideas to some of the biggest problems facing society.


The groups will be going truly global this year, working around the clock by linking in with participants in North America and Australia to make the most of global knowledge with international partners Wood and South Australia Power Networks.


This year’s festival challenges are centred around a ‘build back better’ theme, working on topics such as:

  • Sprinting to carbon neutral
  • Cross-utility health and safety
  • Creation and leverage of digital twins
  • How to best serve our customers and take customer service to the next level
  • How workplace diversity in global utilities can be improved
  • How 5G sensors can improve the way utility companies work

For many headline sponsors, this will be the fourth consecutive year they’ve joined Northumbrian Water for its annual festival and as the company adapts to the current global situation, innovating in a digital capacity has been an exciting prospect for many organisations. 


The company is digitalising all the elements guests love about the festival, including a sprinkling of celebrity drop-ins, virtual wellbeing sessions, live comedy stand-ups and musical performances.


Each activity will bring a real festival-feel and attendees will also be able to experience lightning talks, networking events, Q&A sessions and tech demos done through live-streams and recorded catch-ups.


Nigel Watson, Northumbrian Water’s Information Services Director, said: “COVID19 has completely changed peoples’ lives and caused businesses and organisations right across the globe to rethink how they do things.


“Going digital is how we’re doing our festival this year as we adapt and flex to the current situation, and the appetite to get involved with it has continued to be huge.


“We’re seeing real-life projects being delivered all the time, big changes and new ways of working that started out as the seed of an idea at our Innovation Festival and organisations want to get on board with that.


“Thanks to our partners and our sponsors, people from all across the world can get involved in the festival in a safe and accessible way and hopefully Innovation Festival 2020 can help us to collaboratively build back better.”


To find out more about the festival and register interest, see