Northumbrian Water Group (NWG) has announced the 13 big questions it will tackle at its five-day long Innovation Festival at Newcastle Racecourse in July.

IF18 is the water supplier’s second festival of this kind, and twice the size of its first one. It brings together businesses such as Isle Utilities, Big Bang Partnership, Oracle, Mott McDonald Bentley and Rolta to tackle social and environmental challenges.

This year’s event, from  9-13 July, features live music and comedy, inspirational talks and mindfulness and relaxation sessions. Pupils from local schools will also play a role in the festival by leading their own “Blue Planet” sprint and taking part in workshops and challenges such as ‘Mission to Mars’ and a robotics competition.

Northumbrian Water Group’s information services director Nigel Watson said: “We’re asking some big questions that affect us all –and we’ve got experts from all of these areas together in one place for one week to come up with some solutions.”

NWG’s “pollution-busting” Moss Tree, the water Refill campaign, and artificial intelligence projects were all products arising from last year’s festival.

The questions include:

  • How do you create the ‘perfect’ water company?
  • Can we build an underground map of the UK?
  • How can we improve customers’ lives with smart technology?
  • How to build advocacy with our communities and customers.
  • What will the future of transport look like?
  • How can we improve the lives of people who are visually impaired?
  • Fighting flooding – How can we reduce the risk and build for the future?


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