Our commercial enterprise team delivered a sprint at this year’s Northumbrian Water Group Innovation Festival 2002 on July 12.
The session was held to explore how we might cut our emissions to support our net zero ambitions in the NHS and deliver sustainable healthcare for our patients.
Our business innovation manager Charlotte Fox, who leads on developing and implementing the Trust’s innovation strategy, teamed up with sustainability specialist Anna Lisa Mills who delivers on our Trust’s climate emergency commitments in areas such as procurement, low carbon models, sustainable travel and staff engagement within areas of the climate emergency response strategy.
They were also joined by innovation specialist Wayne Bryant from the Innovation Super Network and our colleague senior business manager Wayne Elliott.
Charlotte explains more about the day:
The festival gave us a fantastic opportunity to connect with people from companies in different sectors, creating opportunities to collaborate and explore how we might deliver high quality and sustainable care for our patients through innovation.
Taking place at Gosforth Racecourse the grounds were totally transformed with a beach, tipi tent, marquees and a FunderDome!
The day was opened with empowering speeches by Northumbrian Water’s CIO Nigel Watson and CEO Heidi Mottram. They were followed by John Russell, senior director at Ofwat. John detailed how a £200 million fund from Ofwat – the Water Services Regulation Authority for England and Wales – is driving collaboration across the sector. It was really good to hear they’ve even been able to innovate within the fund with an upcoming £4 million allocation that will be open for anyone to apply to – from inventors in their garden sheds, to small, medium and large companies. The fund specifically encourages innovation to transform water and wastewater services.
Sara Davies MBE star of Dragons Den and BBC Strictly Come Dancing inspired us all with how her business became a huge success because she took the time to really understand her customers and what their problems were. By doing this she was able to create solutions that were an instant success.
This really connected with me – it’s something we’re always striving for with innovation in healthcare and what our commercial enterprise team is supporting – finding the pinch points, the problems and seeking out those innovative solutions to help bring bright ideas come through to deliver outstanding care for our patients. And where they don’t exist, we look to create our own. Sara ended by acknowledging how the pandemic has meant that innovation has become the core to business survival in difficult times. That no ideas are silly, it’s good to move outside of your comfort zone and the magic will follow.
Our sprint gave us an opportunity to showcase the Trust and how we are pioneering in healthcare in terms of sustainability and net zero.
It is now three years since we became the first healthcare organisation in the world to declare a climate emergency, publicly acknowledging the link between the health of our planet and the health of our people.
We committed to take action to fast track a reduction in our carbon emissions and across our organisation and the NHS we’ve been spreading the message that there is no human health without planetary health.
Our sprint brough together patients, carers, and colleagues from the NHS, Northumbrian Water, and sectors including energy, offshore and the voluntary sector in attendance. We took them through a structured design sprint that asked them to ideate personas of people and companies that have an impact on our sustainability agenda and what problems they might face. This enabled us to build up a ‘problem statement’ we could then take away to follow up on in the next phase of our work. This will be to seek out collaborative partners to co-create solutions to problems in this area which will to help drive forward our Trust’s innovation strategy to support our climate emergency commitments and greener care for our patients.
The insight we got from the day was invaluable and we’re really thankful to Northumbrian Water for giving us a chance to represent the NHS at their annual festival.
The North East Innovation Lab also exhibited and showcased its work to support the development of the next generation of diagnostic tests.
You can read our Trust chief executive Dame Jackie Daniel’s her blog on cutting our Trust emissions to become NetZero here.