Young Innovators' Panel

Photo of our Young Innovators' Panel

As part of our commitment to continually engage with young people in our Cambridge region and ensure their voices help shape our future plans, we have launched a Young Innovators’ Panel in our Cambridge region. 

The 2019 Panel is made up of 17 students aged 16 to 18 who were selected from six schools across the Cambridge region we serve.

How the Young Innovators’ Panel works

  • The students who joined the Panel spent a day in July at the new Eddington development site in Cambridge, learning about the company, taking part in team building exercises and talking with directors and senior managers about their roles and challenges
  • At the end of the session they were then set a real-life task which was to develop a plan, based on customer research, to encourage people to use less water every day in their homes.
  • The panellists then worked in four teams on their task over the summer to prepare for their second visit in September. Here they pitched their ideas to a group of senior directors and managers, who then reviewed the ideas and selected a winning team. 

What our Young Innovators told us

We had four good ideas presented to us by the teams:

  • The winning team, N.E.R.O, proposed an idea of using smart meters and a personal rewards programme to encourage customers to save water. The data from the smart meters would be fed into an app to provide customers with details of their water use to get people interested in taking part.
  • Team Water Ideal’s approach was to use an app with a supporting handbook for customers to create the ideal ‘low water use bathroom’ for their home.
  • Team Droplet developed a prototype of a wireless flow rate meter, which would be linked to an app, supported with a targeted communications plan to encourage water saving behaviour based on the customers' water use. This included introducing a rainwater toilet to their home.
  • Team Wotter’s idea focused on educating the public about wasting water, by introducing a mascot and changing water behaviour by learning from other cultures, who are stretched for resources.

How we are using their feedback

We have reviewed the ideas presented by our future customers; take a look at how we have incorporated them into our wider plans to improve our service:
  • Whilst smart metering hasn't arrived yet, we have launched GetWaterFit, which provides customers the opportunity to review their household water usage, as well as finding out how it affects their energy consumption. They can then order a free water-saving kit and have a call with an expert to find out how to install the devices. The service also encourages customers to take part in daily challenges to reduce their water use, where they can earn rewards for charities and local shcools.
  • We are always investigating new ways of helping customers to choose water-efficient appliances for their home, so whilst we may not yet have an app to build the perfect water-efficient bathroom, we have some great tips to save water in there.
  • We continue to look at rainwater recycling systems, through our partnerships with building developers, as we tackle the challenge of building water-efficient homes.
  • Our resident education mascot, Captain Efficient, has been busy spreading his water-saving messages around schools for the past few years. He has now expanded his mission to champion other causes and recruited a new hero - Rita the Meter - to help. Watch this space for more happenings from the dynamic duo.

What they thought of the experience

"It was a very good experience - I wouldn't change [a thing about] the Young Innovators' Panel."

"Young Innovators is a great experience and opportunity."

- Feedback from our young innovators in 2019.

You can find out more about their thoughts of being part of our Young Innovators’ Panel by watching this video.

How can you benefit from being on our Young Innovators’ Panel?

Being a Young Innovator gives you the opportunity to:

  • Have a real influence on the decisions made by the company’s senior management relating to the task that you will be given
  • See the inner workings of a major business
  • Gain first-hand experience of presenting your ideas to senior directors
  • Improve your team-working and communication skills
  • Meet and make friends with other like-minded young people from around the region
  • Receive a formal reference for use in UCAS or apprenticeship applications
  • Gain a £100 reward for taking part.

Photo of the winning Young Innovators' team

Whether you are thinking of starting your own business, going to university or starting an apprenticeship, the Young Innovators’ Panel can help you develop the skills you will need to succeed.

The Young Innovators' Panel will likely return to the Cambridge region in 2024, so watch this space for further details.

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