Answering your questions

We launched our first innovation challenge – which focuses on achieving net-zero carbon – on February 14. During the launch event, we shared details about how innovators can submit solutions to the challenges that our utilities partners have identified. If you missed it, you can view it below.

During this session, we fielded many questions from participants hoping to make the most out of our services. In this article, we will answer all remaining questions posed and provide a recap of the biggest innovation challenges that participants are currently facing.


Your questions

What services does Spring offer and how can we best engage and collaborate?

While a full list of Spring’s service offerings can be found here, the most important collaboration opportunities to have on your radar are:

  • Participating in our first Specific Challenge on achieving net-zero carbon, which has an upcoming deadline on March 14. To find out more and submit your idea, click here.
  • Engaging with our digital Communities relating to each water innovation strategy theme. These exist to bring people and ideas together from across sectors to build new bridges, strengthen existing links, share knowledge, and facilitate new partnerships to take solutions from idea to implementation. You can join our Communities here.
  • Taking advantage of our Knowledge Transfer service, which will soon be launched as a proof-of-concept. This service will provide a centralised, consistent and easily disseminated project output compendium, creating project legacy to enable enhanced rollout across the sector.

What are Spring’s goals and future plans?

Spring is a new, sector-designed organisation that will enable and enhance innovation and collaboration within and beyond the water sector. It will accelerate sector transformation, improve efficiency, add substantial value for the benefit of customers, society and the environment in the UK & Ireland and provide a positive impact for businesses.

Spring will enable the delivery of the WIS and Ofwat’s strategic innovation themes, bringing the sector together allowing water companies, academia, government and supply chain to collectively explore and adopt innovations for the benefit of the wider public.

What support will Spring offer to innovations that make it through the challenge process? Will innovators have access to water companies and support bringing their ideas to market?

Successful innovators will be invited to pitch their solutions to experts and decision-makers within the participating water companies. Spring will facilitate and support the creation of collaborative working groups to drive the development and adoption of innovations.

All successful solutions will be assisted through the innovation adoption and implementation stages by Spring, but the exact support we provide will depend on the technology readiness level (TRL) of the solution proposed.

All submissions will be reviewed by Spring – supported by subject matter experts from water companies. These experts will be the key decision-makers as to which solutions are taken forward.

How can Spring help move an innovation from one TRL to another?

Our challenge processes are designed to support innovation in both adoption and development.

We will be working closely with our partners and other organisations to ensure the award for the open challenge includes the support required to progress innovation through the Technology Readiness Levels. More information about what this includes will be released in the coming months.

How can Spring help the water networks get to net-zero, by measuring the impact of innovation projects towards this goal?

We hope that through both our open and specific challenges we can support water companies, supply chain and the wider water network to achieve their net-zero ambitions by identifying innovation and accelerating its adoption through collaborative projects.

Collaborative projects will be tracked throughout their lifecycle to ensure benefits are captured and valuable knowledge is shared.

Our first challenge is open until 14 March. To register to our platform, take part in our challenge and join our communities of innovators, click here.

Agriculture accounts for 72% of all global water abstraction, but this sector can be very inefficient. There’s a lot of potential to deliver benefits for both water quality and quantity, but measuring them can be challenging. How do we reconcile major savings in another sector with minor savings in the water sector?

Our goal is to drive transformational innovation and collaboration beyond the water sector – and learn from other sectors when developing our functions.

We are strong advocates of encouraging cross-sector collaboration, and our Board includes members with deep expertise in external sectors like edtech and energy.

Our innovation communities are open to experts and innovators from across sectors to bring new ideas and voices into the water sector. They are a great opportunity to share knowledge and forge new partnerships – ultimately leading to new opportunities for innovation.

Reconciling the difference in benefits between sectors is a big challenge, and we hope our community-led approach will help identify and demonstrate ways to achieve this.

Is Spring considering transformational cross-sector innovation? Moving this forward will involve cross-sector collaboration – is Spring inviting interest from collaborative proposals?

Absolutely! It’s essential we learn from other sectors and bridge the innovation gap. If we don’t do this, we’ll lose the unique insight and expertise we all value.

Through our challenges and communities, we want to catalyse new partnerships and drive collaborative proposals that can deliver benefits across sectors.