Case Study


The Water Challenge

A Festival of Innovative Ideas

We worked with the University of Glasgow to design, develop and run a 2.5 day festival of Ideas. We took 46 individuals from 14 different academic disciplines, as well as industry and government.  Added in commercial and process expertise and apply to a big challenge.  Mixed them together for two and a half days with liberal doses of fun and a supportive environment. 

The Result:

  • Eight innovative solutions to big societal problems
  • Industry appreciating the potential of the research base
  • Researchers with an expanded range of skills in developing commercially viable solutions
  • A starting point for future research and industry collaborations

Our Approach

  • The teams were provided with a choice of eight challenges, ranging from water scarcity and unsafe drinking water, to more efficient use of water and sewage flooding. Each team worked together to select one specific challenge to address over the 2.5 day event.
  • Teams had the freedom to present their solution in any form that they wanted, including physical and digital prototypes.
  • Over the 2.5 days, alongside project delivery time the team members attended a range ‘Skills Jam Sessions’ which provided  them with the skills, tools and processes to develop their Challenge Projects. These sessions ranged from tools to come up with new ideas and a ‘how to’ session on prototyping, to information sessions on branding and Intellectual Property.
  • A number of guest speakers set the scene for the water challenges and provided sources of inspiration to the Challenge Teams.
  • Teams had access to a team of mentors from a range of backgrounds, including the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), the River Clyde Foundation, the Water Innovation Service, Scottish Water, professional engineers as well as Targeting Innovation’s mentor team which included intellectual property, design, commercialisation and innovation experts.

Event Feedback

Key outcomes

  • Almost 80% of the participants identified that the Water Challenge Event had provided them with new skills, tools and techniques which could be applied in their research.
  • 48% of participants stated that the event had helped them to meet potential collaborators.
  • All the participants identified that they would or potentially would be interested in partaking in events of a similar format in the future.
  • 94% of the participants had rated the ‘Skills Jam Sessions’ as being ‘valuable’, ‘very valuable’ or ‘extremely valuable’.
  • All the participants rated the multidisciplinary team approach as being ‘valuable’(18.5%), ‘very valuable’ (42%) or   extremelyvaluable’(39.5%).