Our Innovation Shop Window

Shop window logo

Water is a precious natural resource; vital to life, key to a sustainable and vibrant economy, and essential for a flourishing environment. It’s used for everything from drinking and growing crops to swimming and making shoes. So with a rapidly growing world population it’s no wonder that a ready supply of clean, safe drinking water is one of the most pressing global challenges of our time.

At Anglian Water, we believe challenges bring opportunities when met with innovation.

While we may not yet know what our business could look like in 25 years’ time, or the context within which it will need to operate, we do know we need to protect our customers, environment and assets, whatever the future holds. So we have to learn to be more agile and responsive, challenge our traditional approaches, and make the most of collaboration, innovation and engagement.

We are looking for answers through our Newmarket Innovation Shop Window.

Our Shop Window is a real-world location where we drive innovation through collaboration across our business, supply chain and the entire man-made water cycle. By concentrating innovation in one physical place, we unlock synergies between new technologies and different ways of working. This accelerates our learning, and the learning of our partners. It allows us to improve customer service, environmental stewardship and the efficiency of our business at a much faster pace. In this respect, our Shop Window is a microcosm of what a future water company looks like, today. For suppliers it’s a real-world test bed to trial products, services and initiatives, and develop viable commercial applications. It is also an opportunity to engage in new ways with our customer and provide them with the opportunity to influence the services we provide and how we provide them, through collaboration and co-creation. 

Innovation will be applied across the entire water cycle, for example we’ll be asking how could we get to zero leaks? How do we ensure every single customer is satisfied with their service from us? How do we help protect the quality of our rivers and wildlife without more treatment and chemicals that are expensive for customer bills? How do we prevent pollution and flooding? These aren’t easy questions to solve, but we’re working hard to get there.

Stronger together

Anglian Water’s entire approach is one of collaboration and partnership. We are willing to partner and collaborate with any organisation who which shares the same aspirations as ourselves and wants to improve services for our customers.

The strength of the Innovation Shop Window is the sheer number of partners and projects running simultaneously. Just one year into the Shop Window initiative, we are already collaborating with around 98 partner organisations working on 62 projects, with more coming on board all the time. 44 of these projects have either already been delivered or are live within our Shop Window currently. Many of them have already reaped positive results. These projects are designed to solve the most challenging questions facing our industry. 

And thanks to the strong alliances we have built with our supply chain and others over time, we are able to work with some of the best minds and innovative ideas, with the opportunity to apply fresh thinking to old and new problems. 

Funding

Suppliers are openly invited to showcase the best they have to offer in terms of innovative products and services. To do so, the expectation is for suppliers to collaborate with Anglian Water and be prepared financially support as well as provide resources towards the showcasing of their innovation within the Shop Window. 

Aspirational goals

At Anglian Water, we believe challenges bring opportunities when met with innovation, and ambitious, aspirational goals are powerful drivers for change. They provide a clear direction for our business and inspire our people and partners as to what can be achieved.

In the Shop Window, we have set ourselves seven goals designed to solve the most challenging questions facing our industry. We don’t yet know for certain how we will make these goals a reality, it’s a journey, but they are already positively transforming the way we work. 


With a growing population and finite water resource, encouraging everyone to use water wisely is crucial to ensuring long-term water availability. While we continue to reduce our own water footprint through the elimination of leakage and bursts, helping our customers to reduce their consumption is also important. We want properties in the Shop Window area to reduce their water usage by over a third, to 80 litres per person per day, in comparison to the current national average of 150 litres. Installing smart meters, water efficient household fittings art just two of the ways we’re working to achieve this. 

We are already leading our industry in terms of our low leakage levels, having gone further than any other company in response to what our customers told us was important to them. Yet; we still lose water every day through hard to find leaks. We are trialling new leak detection technology – including satellite and thermal imaging drones – which is helping us to locate these sooner, and in a time and cost efficient way. Being able to identify leaks in this way also enables us to prioritise repairs and catch small leaks before they develop into bigger problems, such as burst mains and supply interruptions. These technologies also help to reduce carbon, cost and disruption to our customers, by removing the need for manual surveys and allowing us to accurately pinpoint leaks before we start digging. 

Customers are at the heart of everything we do, and since we launched our Love Every Drop strategy in 2010, we’ve set ourselves the ambitious goal of achieving 100% customer satisfaction. In the Shop Window we are focussed on meeting that. By addressing the issues that matter most to our customers, such as leakage, flooding and pollutions, we are already in a strong position to reach our customer satisfaction target. But we are looking at new ways of interacting with our customers, too. 

We have already made huge strides in reducing our energy consumption and lowering our carbon footprint across our operations. Nonetheless, to run the water and sewerage networks, each year we still need to spend around £70 million on energy, emit around 450,000 tonnes of CO2 and remain dependent on third parties for our energy. Our ambition is to become energy and carbon neutral in the Shop Window, and to understand how we could replicate this across our business. To achieve this, we are looking into everything from energy-efficient treatment processes to renewables energy on our sites. 

Pollutions and flooding are bad for our environment and disruptive to our customers. In our Shop Window, we are looking at innovative techniques to eliminate the causes of flooding and pollutions. This includes additional modelling and monitoring of sewerage networks; new sewage treatment methods; and managing surface water sustainably. 

We are committed to continuing to supply our customers with excellent quality drinking water. However, the long-term cost and availability of some of the chemicals we use to achieve this is uncertain. Elsewhere in Europe, the use of chemicals in drinking water treatment has been eliminated. We are conducting an innovative study into how we could achieve this in the UK too.

 

Shop Window testing facility

For suppliers and innovators, the Shop Window is a one-of-a-kind, real-world test bed to trial their products, services and initiatives, and to help make sure they’re commercially viable.
The Shop Window is a live, operational focus area, bigger than any laboratory, and a epicentre where we actively encourage suppliers, communities and our customers to collaborate with us.
We are already collaborating with around 98 organisations ranging from Universities, Charities, small to medium sized businesses, large-multi-national companies and suppliers inside and outside the water sector to test products and services in the Newmarket catchment. 

 

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