Northumbrian has set a date for its fifth Innovation Festival – 18-19 October  – in a hybrid format including small physical hubs alongside an online event.

The four-day event was deigned to bring together experts from the water sector and beyond to participate in design sprints, hacks, workshops and activities focusing on addressing major challenges including net zero, sustainability, water poverty and breaking down the digital divide.

A hybrid format has been chosen to minimise potential disruptions in case of further lockdowns or restrictions. Organisers plan to host small groups in hubs across the UK, Europe, Australia and the US that will work together and feed into the overarching digital event.

“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,” Nigel Watson, information services director at Northumbrian. “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.”

The online component will allow participants from around the world to contribute, which was successfully executed last year when organisers were forced to redesign the physical event as an all-digital format.

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 highlighted as essential in Rishi Sunak’s latest Budget.

Northumbrian will partner with Microsoft, Aiimi, CK, Delta, Wood Group and Google for this year’s event themed as The Brilliant Get Together. Input throughout the event from SMEs, charities, community groups and NGOs will contribute to finding workable ideas and solutions over the four days.

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