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Celebrating innovation at NWG’s 2018 Innovation Festival

Scott | 24/07/2018

This year we sponsored the NWG Innovation Festival, a pioneering event bringing together national and global companies, universities, schools, innovation experts, and members of the public to take part in 5-day design sprints.

Taking place at Newcastle Racecourse, the event is organised and hosted by the team at Northumbrian Water and addresses 13 major issues affecting our environment and society as a whole. Each delegate is given the opportunity to choose one issue to tackle in a hands-on design sprint, crafting a solution through Design Thinking methodologies, close collaboration, and dedicated ‘war room’ style tents.


It’s a sprint, not a marathon.

With 13 issues on the board, the team from Screenmedia had to choose wisely. After much discussion the challenge we went for was ‘Smart Objectives – Smart devices are filling up our homes. How can we improve customers' lives by making the most of Smart technology?’, hosted by CGI and Border Crossing.

Over the course of the week, our group whittled our ideas down to ‘Project Barnacle’; a smart installation device providing background monitoring of key water quality parameters in customer homes. This device would allow water companies like NWG to identify issues in both the network and individuals’ homes, enabling them to solve problems before the customer even becomes aware of them.


To add to the spirit of innovation, our developers were on hand to offer their guidance and support to each sprint team. Patrolling the 'Developers’ Garage’, initial ideas were nurtured, costed, and transformed into prototypes. By the end of the 5-day sprint, we had helped create a raft of prototypes, ranging from an app to help the visually impaired navigate airports using beacon technology, to a website helping cities turn waste ground into green spaces and vegetable patches. It was a challenging and fast paced week, yet exciting thanks to the enthusiasm of everyone involved and the collaborative atmosphere, as well as the well curated topics.

The week culminated in a final pitch day, with each team presenting their solution. You can check out all 13 ideas and track their progress towards implementation on the NWG festival website.

Taking part in the festival was a great experience, despite only being in its second year NWG have cultivated an insightful and engaged audience from a broad range of industries, and we look forward to returning next year!

Helping out at design sprints

Looking for new talent

Of course, we had another reason to be at the festival too. Because Screenmedia is constantly growing in size, we’re always on the lookout for graduates to join our industry-leading practice. Being sponsors of the event gave us the great opportunity to talk with soon-to-be graduates about the various projects we’ve worked on, as well as what it’s like to work at one of the UK’s leading digital innovation practices.

We’re always searching for skilled, enthusiastic people to join our studio. If we sound like the place for you, check out our careers area to see where you could fit in.

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