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  • by Trevor Loveday

Water industry gets new way to add pace to innovation

Consultancy, Spring, has launched a new process for accelerating the trialing of innovation in the water sector and is calling for “implementable innovations for water companies to trial, progress and adopt in collaboration, working to deliver ambitions set out in the 2050 Water Innovation Strategy.”

Spring has launched this latest “innovation accelerator” – Spring Accelerator 3 – as a four-step process to “ensure greater cross-sector alignment and reduce trial duplication. , the first accelerator using the new process, begins in January 2024, focusing on theme three of the 2050 Water Innovation Strategy - Protecting and Enhancing Natural Systems.

Spring seeks to bring academia, the supply chain and water companies, together “to deliver better outcomes for customers, society and the environment while enabling a more sustainable sector.”

Spring senior innovation manager, Thomas Walker, said “To date, Spring has carried out two accelerator programmes with some noteworthy successes. Lessons from the programmes show there are still barriers to mobilising trials at pace, which is why the new model is working towards an end goal of six-months-to-mobilisation.

“To get to this stage has taken many months of collaboration and engagement with stakeholders. The co-design process has included a sprint at the Northumbrian Innovation Festival in July 2023, which allowed us to present and thoroughly test the new model with a cross-section of stakeholders, including water companies, suppliers and adjacent industries.

“We are now excited to be able to share the result of this extensive engagement.”

The four steps of the new process are:

  • an “ambition surgery” to “connect, articulate the problem and define a specific challenge (the first will take place in late January 2024 focusing on Protecting and Enhancing Natural Systems.);

  • an Innovation Marketplace – a directory for innovators to submit their solutions against the call for innovation to provide a quick but thorough assessment;

  • an innovation exchange with sessions to bring together water companies and selected innovators to co-design the beginning of their relationship; and

  • mobilisation – a facilitation service to bring on trials with multiple water companies.


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