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At the risk of making too obvious a pun, I’m delighted that Spring has sprung.
Carly, Shaunna and everyone else involved have done a fantastic job in turning an idea in a strategy into something much more real. That they achieved this in just over six weeks after being appointed in July is astonishing.
I’m also grateful to the UKWIR board and water company CEOs for the confidence they had in us to incubate Spring. We were keen not to stifle the creative process while making sure the team had the support and guidance they needed.
One of the team’s biggest successes is managing to engage with – and reflect the needs of – so many different stakeholders. Not just from within the water sector, but just as importantly with the supply chain, academia, and innovators.
We deliberated over what form the organisation of Spring should be. We considered options from establishing it as a totally independent organisation to creating a new, semi-independent team within UKWIR.
We decided the best option was to make Spring a subsidiary of UKWIR. This means it can have its own brand and identity, create a separate funding strategy, and choose its own direction.
Standing apart doesn’t mean standing alone. Spring will benefit from sharing UKWIR’s expertise and resources, and its cross-sector board means it remains strategically aligned with the sector’s research needs – while maintaining separate, complimentary programmes.
Simply, this alignment means UKWIR will keep our focus on crucial research to address our Big Questions and Spring will engage with nearer to market innovations and help deliver them into the industry.
This will create a much stronger sense of purpose for the whole water sector –
moving away from a fragmented approach to innovation, making us more efficient and creating a true collaborative culture.
Ultimately, this will help us deliver better value and outcomes for the environment and our most important stakeholders – customers.
This is just our first step. Later this year, Spring will launch its first functions and services – allowing companies and innovators to start collaborating on the game-changing innovation we need.
It’s essential Spring’s users engage with it. Without the feedback of the people using it, Spring won’t be as effective as it can – and needs to – be. I really can’t stress this enough – the more Spring is used, the better it will become.
This is an exciting step forward for research and innovation in the industry. We, collectively, have an opportunity to help a new organisation thrive and ensure research and innovation is aligned for the benefit of the sector, for the environment and for our customers.