Northumbrian Water are holding their fifth iteration of the Innovation Festival between October 18-21.
The four-day event will see thousands of the most creative minds from all over the world come together in a series of design sprints, hacks, workshops and activities, aimed at solving big challenges such as Net Zero carbon, sustainability, world water poverty and breaking down the digital divide.
As well as putting their brains to the test, innovators will also be able to enjoy the traditional festival-style activities on offer, such as live comedy, guest speakers, cook-a-longs, tech demos, and STEM sessions.
To try and minimise the impact from any future lockdown restrictions and to ensure the festival can go ahead, the event is being held in a hybrid format this year.
This will see organisers take all the best bits from previous physical festivals and mix them together with last year’s successful digital showcase, which saw almost 3,000 attendees, from 37 different countries getting involved, to create this year’s first-of-its-kind event.
Restrictions allowing, the plan is for innovators to be able to gather in smaller hubs and physically work together on projects that will feed into the overarching digital event. Hubs are planned for locations across the UK, Europe, Australia and even the United States.
To celebrate its fifth year of running, the theme for the 2021 event is ‘The Brilliant Get-Together’ which is a nod to the collaborative partnership approach to this year’s festival and a celebration of all amazing people that have taken part in previous years.
Partner organisations from all over the world - including the likes of Microsoft, Aiimi, CK, Delta, Wood Group and Google - will join forces with SMEs, charities, community groups and NGOs to help solve some of the biggest societal and environmental problems we are currently facing.
Nigel Watson, Information Services Director at Northumbrian Water Group, said: “We’re really excited about Innovation Festival 2021 and looking forward to our most ambitious event yet.
“The choice to make it a hybrid festival and mix the digital and physical events together is great and means we get the very best of both worlds.
“Where we can, we’ll have people physically working together back in shared spaces and alongside one another co-creating safely, which will be fantastic to see.
“And with the digital side of the festival we can also add festival goers from anywhere across the world into the mix.
“We saw the benefits of this last year when we had people from lots of different continents, and time zones, taking part in our sprints. It was fantastic to see and brought a whole other dimension to our thinking and ideas. I can’t wait to see who we reach this year and what ideas we come up with.
“The theme for this year is the ‘The Brilliant Get-Together’, and that is simply what the event will be. A brilliant gathering of amazing people from all corners of the globe, coming together to innovate and help play their part in changing the world.”
Previous festivals have seen successful projects and innovations come from them such as an underground measuring device ‘The Power of Z’ and the rural IOT sensor ‘Dragonfly’.
Amongst the most successful projects is Underground Mapping – an idea from the 2018 festival which was recently thrust into the national spotlight after Rishi Sunak highlighted the need for innovation during his Budget.
To be a part of the festival, register your interest here -