A sprint is a fairly new approach to problem solving coined by Google. It’s essentially a method to aid answering critical business questions that will yield real solutions that can be implemented. It’s designed to shortcut the endless debate cycle that can occur when trying to reach a solutions to a business problem. Coming up with ideas can be easy but the path to implementation can be tough. Sprints allow ideas to be designed, prototyped and tested with customers and saves precious time and resource. At Innovate East, the will be a diverse range of attendees all bringing fresh perspective to solving exceptionally important problems and we want you to be part of that. Take a look below at the sprints that we’ll be running and register your place.

+ How do we balance modern life with protecting our environment for future generations?
Sponsored by Skanska

For the majority, modern life in the UK is good. We are living longer, can travel, have enough to eat and can get pretty much anything delivered from around the world within 24 hours of ordering it. However, the way we live is having a huge impact on our environment. Our contribution to climate change has a global impact, plastic is clogging up our seas and we consume more than our planet can support. So join us to design the disruptive social and technological innovations that will balance modern life in the UK with the needs of the environment, now and for future generations.

+ How do we come together to make a meaningful difference in your community?
Sponsored by Barhale

Join the sprint that could change your community for the better! We’ll work together to make a difference by understanding what can make a positive impact on the communities in which we operate. With truly inspirational speakers from diverse backgrounds, together we will draw out the very best ideas and thoughts and turn them into action. Everyday organisations and individuals already make a meaningful difference in our communities and we want to bring these participants together to learn from each other and to explore how we can combine our efforts. By collaborating we can maximise benefits for the communities in which we operate and serve, so that the real difference we make to people’s lives is greater than we can all achieve individually.

+ How can we revolutionise leakage management using learning from other sectors and industries?
Sponsored by IMGeospatial/Soarizon

The way we manage leakage on our assets is changing each and every day. Traditional methods are being challenged in new and exciting ways with digital technologies being introduced into the market to try and tackle what is a growing national topic. Leakage in our industry we know comes in the form of safe, clean drinking water however, water isn’t the only form of leakage out there, what are other industries doing to reduce or prevent leakage? We’ll look to explore different methods and technologies from other industries to revolutionise the way we manage our assets in the future.

+ How can we plug the current gap in digital skills?
Sponsored by Costain

In a changing world where digital is now a core part of many roles and set to grow further, how do we develop the current workforce and the workforce of tomorrow with the skills they'll need to succeed? In this sprint we'll seek to fully understand the current and future skills gap, we'll get under the skin of the problem and work together to come up with innovative solutions.

+ How do water companies make better asset investment decisions in the face of climate change?
Sponsored by Copperleaf

In a world of increasing customer and stakeholder expectations, more demanding external environments and a need to maintain value for money, it is becoming increasingly challenging to find the right balance and optimise investment in our assets. Climate change is a real and immediate challenge for the water industry and ways of working need to be reviewed in light of this growing challenge. Our sprint will seek to understand the impacts of climate change on our asset infrastructure and develop solutions to inform better asset investment decisions for the benefit of current and future generations.

+ How do we define the relationship between agriculture, water and energy in the face of climate change?
Sponsored by BT

In this sprint we will be exploring the relationship and synergies between agriculture, water, and energy in the face of climate change and an unpredictable future. Starting by defining what we already know and the status quo, before seeking out the knowledge gaps, opportunities and potential solutions to creating sustainability and resilience.

+ Can digital twins help improve water quality management in distribution systems?
Sponsored by Siemens

In this sprint we intend to investigate the issues faced by the water industry with regards to water quality in the distribution network, and how these risks manifest themselves. Having broken down the issues and identified the problem statements that outline the greatest risks, we will then look to see how digital twins can help identify, describe, predict and manage risks to the network.

+ How can we accelerate the adoption of digital twins across the sector?
Sponsored by Aiimi & @one Alliance

The adoption of Digital Twin is growing rapidly. These living, virtual models of processes and systems enable us to make improvements and take proactive decisions about their real-life counterparts. In this sprint, we’ll explore the importance of establishing clear standards for the adoption of Digital Twin in the water industry. From interoperability to innovation, we need you to help us figure out how Digital Twin will shape the future of our industry.

+ How do we realise cross-sector opportunities through sharing or interaction of digital twins and is there a business case for doing so?
Sponsored by Mott Macdonald Bentley

In this sprint we intend to investigate the issues faced by the water industry with regards to water quality in the distribution network, and how these risks manifest themselves. Having broken down the issues and identified the problem statements that outline the greatest risks, we will then look to see how digital twins can help identify, describe, predict and manage risks to the network.

+ Is there a way of achieving balance between AI and people?
Sponsored by EWM Alliance (Atos, Cognizant and Capgemini)

This sprint will investigate how to achieve balance between AI and people. We will start by breaking the problem down into different areas of interest for water companies, our customers and our partners. We will look at the use of AI to create a Network Resilience Dashboard to help us spot problems before they happen alongside its use in helping to improve customer experience, engagement and drinking water quality. We'll explore how we can use AI to become more proactive in managing our waste water network and how we can encourage our customers to think more sustainably. In each case our focus will be to find the right balance between fully autonomous, independent, machine led processes and the insight and value that only humans can bring. In essence, can we use artificial intelligence to help us find a way through these age-old constraints; Right Resources, Right Problem, Right Time, Right Cost.


Innovate East will host two hackathons that address some of the biggest challenges we face in the water industry. Using the greatest software developers, data scientists and computer programmers to collaborate across two hacks, we will be using the three days to tackle the following questions:


+ Using our data, what impact do our operations have on leakage levels?
Sponsored by Aiimi

Join us to discover the science behind network leakage, one of the water industry's biggest challenges. You'll 'tune in' to expertise and data to innovate new ways of identifying and even predicting the leaks which cause our water losses – as well as delving into water usage to ensure we’re always looking for leaks in the right place. Using cutting edge data science techniques, we will be ‘tuning in’ to the high resolution data captured by our network’s array of acoustic loggers, exploiting maximum value from these IoT sensors to find leaks faster and more efficiently. We will also be focusing on the way customers use water, to ensure we’re looking for our leaks, and not just increased demand. The aim of both approaches will be to deliver the best value services to all of our customers.

+ How do we avoid Beast from the East part deux? Network data vs. weather data
Sponsored by IBM & The Weather Company

The Beast from the East in 2018 saw the UK plunge into chaos. With climate experts predicting extreme weather becoming more and more common in our near future, this poses a massive problem for our society. Join us to explore how the water industry can look to mitigate the effects of extreme weather events and help make a difference to the resilience of our water networks. We will be blending together a range of data sets, from network to weather to operational, to develop innovative and novel ways to change the way we prepare and respond to the effects of climate change. In turn this will ensure that all our customers can continue receiving the precious commodity that is water.


Short on time but want to be part of Innovate East and finding solutions? Daily dashes are for you. These quick fire (one day) events will cover different topics on different days and focus on discussing the problem and prototyping at a really high level.


+ Mapping a next generation digital streetscape for utility assets
Sponsored by Ordnance Survey

How can we step change the digital mapping and data quality of streetscape assets quickly? Our aim is to show streetscape assets can be collected, mapped and shared with utilities owners; and develop innovative ways to do it quickly.

+ Can we change customer behaviour with the use of wipes and FOG and, make it stick?
Sponsored by Isle Utilities

The majority of blockages in pipes from toilets and sinks are avoidable. They are caused by fats, oils and grease (FOG) and food waste from sinks, together with wipes and sanitary waste flushed down toilets – waste such as pads and tampons, most of which contain hidden plastics. How can we change behaviours permanently? How can we encourage people to change for good and care about what happens to their environment? When a blockage leads to a flooding or pollution, this can be devastating not only for us but wildlife too. This dash will examine how we can work together to change behaviours forever and for always.


+ How would rapid trade work?
Sponsored by Wheatley

This Daily Dash aims to help us understand how ‘rapid water trade’ between all water abstraction licence holders can be achieved to help meet growing demand and protect water resources. We will be exploring what is meant by water and rapid water trade, and why it is so important. We will also be exploring the link between water trade and water catchment management, and challenges of water abstraction both for water companies and all water abstraction licence holders. We will be working out the objects and desired outcomes from water trade, and potential barriers and what is needed to increase water trade and develop a rapid trading approach.

+ What's the best way to support our non-household customers to use less water and lower their water footprint?
Sponsored by Anglian Water & Essex & Suffolk Water

Through a series of lightening talks and break out exercises, this dash will be diving into to some key areas where a collaborative approach can be taken to help reduce consumption from non-household customers. Working together with both retailers and non-household customers, we will explore ways in which we can tackle the future challenge of demand, together.