Utilities Digital Solutions Europe

Spring water accelerator aims to overcome trial barriers

Tuesday, 28 November 2023

In a move to fast-track trials within the water sector, Spring, a knowledge and innovation hub for the UK water industry has introduced an enhanced innovation accelerator as part of its multi-year initiative.


Swift mobilisation of trials 

In a move to fast-track trials within the water sector, Spring has introduced an enhanced innovation accelerator as part of its multi-year initiative. 

The goal, it says, is to eliminate barriers hindering the swift mobilisation of trials. The Spring Accelerator 3, the first programme under the revamped model, is scheduled to begin in January 2024, focusing on the theme of "Protecting and Enhancing Natural Systems" outlined in the 2050 Water Innovation Strategy.

The four-step Spring Accelerator model builds upon the previous framework, aiming for improved cross-sector alignment, reduced trial duplication, and accelerated implementation of innovations within the water sector.

This initiative brings together stakeholders from academia, the supply chain and water companies, fostering collaboration to achieve better outcomes for customers, society and the environment, with an emphasis on sustainability.


Two accelerator programmes

Senior innovation manager, Thomas Walker, highlighted the necessity for an updated process to address existing barriers and expedite trial mobilisation, with the ultimate goal of achieving mobilization within six months.

“To date, Spring has carried out two accelerator programmes with some noteworthy successes - we had all UK and Ireland water companies engaged in the process and we have supported our 10 portfolio companies in either securing a multi-partner trial or creating meaningful relationships with individual water companies.”

He added: "Since Spring’s conception, the landscape has changed, the needs of water companies and innovators has changed, but the need for pace has remained the same. By taking time to update the process to better reflect the needs of the sector today, we can ensure Spring is able to deliver on its commitment to accelerate innovation in water.”

Ambition Surgery 

The new model includes an “Ambition Surgery” with industry-wide challenge-setting events to define specific challenges aligned with the 2050 Water Innovation Strategy. Additionally, the Innovation Marketplace serves as a streamlined directory for innovators to submit solutions, simplifying the application process.

The Innovation Exchange involves sessions bringing together water companies and innovators to co-design relationships, explore solutions, and outline trials. The mobilisation phase offers a facilitation service to mobilise trials with multiple water companies, saving resources and time.