The UK’s biggest festival of innovation is returning to the North East and is set to be better than ever for 2023.

To find out more, watch - NWG Innovation Festival 2023 Returns!


Preparations for Northumbrian Water’s annual Innovation Festival are well underway, with this year’s event starting on Monday, July 10.


Returning for the seventh time, the week-long festival will once again bring people from the worlds of science, technology and more, together, back at its home in the iconic Newcastle venue, Gosforth Racecourse.


The well-known event, which is aimed at solving society’s big challenges, will see innovators from across the globe gather both physically and digitally for a series of design sprints, hacks, workshops and activities.


Each one will tackle topics such as climate change, cyber security and water scarcity, to look for better and improved ways of doing things and bring about benefits for people and the environment.


The activities will have a particular focus on this year’s theme of ‘Citizens’ which encourages people to start to think and act like Citizens, not Consumers.


It means moving towards interdependent relationships within communities by working together to face the challenges of economic insecurity, climate crisis, public health threats, and political polarisation to build a future.


Alongside the hard work, attendees will be treated to a mix of music, comedy, technology demonstrations, well-being activities and amazing celebrity guest speakers.


Last year’s festival saw talks from guests such as entrepreneur and Dragon’s Den star, Sara Davies MBE and the Repair Shop’s Jay Blades.


Nigel Watson, Information Services Director at Northumbrian Water, said: “We are very excited to be bringing back the Innovation Festival for another year, and plans for it are now well underway.


“Since we began running the festival in 2017, more than 15,000 people have taken part and it’s become a highlight in the global innovation calendar. Even Sydney Water have now started to do their own version of it in Australia! I say this every year, but I say it because it’s true…it’s the best week at work you’ll ever have!


“It gives us the opportunity to work together with experts and innovators from a range of different industries, backgrounds, and environments to come up with new ideas and technologies that can create a sustainable future for the water industry.”


One of the biggest projects to come out of the Innovation Festival and most well-known, is the National Underground Asset Register (NUAR).


Adopted by the UK Government and officially launched just last week (Wednesday April 5), this single, digital map is helping to utility workers to accurately see the complex world of pipes and cables beneath their feet, reducing utility strikes, disruption for customers and ultimately saving lives.


This underground map is a perfect example of why it’s important the water company holds its Innovation Festival - to connect people and ideas, to help solve some of the greatest challenges facing the water industry and broader society.


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