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  • by Karma Loveday

Northumbrian's innovation festival to go digital in face of Covid restrictions

Northumbrian Water has decided to convert its summer innovation festival this year into an online event to be held in September. The company has concluded that social distancing would make it impossible to hold the festival at its established venue in Newcastle racecourse.

In its established form the annual gathering brings experts together to address signifiant water sector problems with 3,000 attendees were expected this July. Participants meet up for four days to work on a range of problems in rapid-fire problem solving session.

Over its three year it has produced several significant developments including a mapping system for all underground utilities, a device for detecting leakage in homes and mains and a real-time quality monitor for waterways.

Northumbrian claims the-online version scheduled for 14-17 September will maintain the attributes of the original format: “Festival attendees will still be able to take part in design sprints, data hacks and daily dashes and work together to solve real world issues and come up with ideas and solutions to big societal problems,” said the company.

Festival organiser and Northumbrian Water's IS director, Nigel Watson, said "Our partners, sponsors and our customers all told us that they wanted it to go ahead and so, taking inspiration from concerts and other large events, we've made the choice to switch the whole event to digital.

"It means that people from all across the globe can get involved in the festival in a safe and accessible way. It opens up lots of brand new opportunities for us both in terms of the way we work and what we can look to achieve.

Information about the online event is available at

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