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United Utilities Innovation Lab launches call-out for innovative ideas for fifth programme

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by Startacus Admin


Now in its fifth year, North West England water firm United Utilities opens call for Innovation Lab, its pioneering ideas incubation programme.

United Utilities, the North West England water firm has just opened a call for Innovation Lab 5.0, its pioneering ideas incubation programme. 

innovation lab imageSince its launch in 2018, more than 500 ideas have been submitted to the Innovation Lab which has led to 30 ideas being trialled and the development of seven long-term commercial relationships.

Partnering once again with corporate innovation specialist, L Marks, the United Utilities’ Innovation Lab 5.0 aims to provide even more innovative businesses with the opportunity to test, develop, improve and demonstrate their great ideas.

This year, they are keen to hear from applicants with ideas that have the potential to help the water sector serve its customers better and improve performance in the following key areas:

Better Rivers: in this new category, they are seeking sustainable solutions to support United Utilities’ river revival programme, where innovation and cutting-edge environmental science can be used to protect and treat rivers in an environmentally friendly, sustainable, and scalable way. In addition, to help tackle the issue of sewage spills which can occur after heavy rainfall, they are seeking innovative ways to help understand the extent of those spills, their volume and content, and solutions that can help to mitigate and control them.

Low Carbon Construction: innovative ways to help reduce the carbon footprint of the company’s large-scale construction programme, including advanced ways to accurately calculate the carbon emissions associated with construction projects, utilise low carbon, sustainable materials, create ‘greener’ construction sites, and innovative rainwater management solutions.

/innovation lab.Water Efficiency: new technologies and solutions to enable the company to facilitate the reduction of water consumption for both domestic and business customers, including technology that can reduce water wastage without relying on customers changing their behaviour, in addition to innovative ways to raise awareness of water as a scarce resource and encourage customers to change behaviour through visualisation, better use of data or gamification.

Dynamic Network Management: to help expand on the success of the United Utilities ‘Dynamic Network Management’ initiative, they are seeking innovative solutions that monitor asset condition, predict potential failures and apply collated data to automate decisions that prevent asset failure in both clean and wastewater environments.

Wildcard: in this open category, they are seeking any new technology, radical idea or innovative solution with the potential to transform any aspect of United Utilities business and improve things for their customers, employees and stakeholders. 

Places on the programme are highly coveted, as successful applicants will be co-located and work hand-in-glove with United Utilities to test, develop, improve and demonstrate their product/service offering in a live customer environment over a 14-week period. 

In addition, participants will also be given unprecedented access to subject matter experts and senior leaders. In previous labs, success in the programme has led to long-term commercial partnerships and ongoing product development.

Further info on the programme and the key focus areas can be found on the Innovation Lab website and if you’re interested in applying, you’ve got until 2nd July 2023 to do so.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to a Pitch Day at United Utilities during the week commencing 18th September 2023 where they will be asked to pitch their solution to senior leaders of United Utilities. 

Successful applicants will be onboarded in early October with the programme itself starting week commencing 6th November 2023 and culminating with a Demo Day in February 2024

Best of luck to all of you who apply!



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Published on: 18th May 2023

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