Innovation is key for next generation - Making water count... now and in the future

As part of its ongoing commitment to innovate and educate, South Staffs Water is looking to future generations for inspiration. On Tuesday 17 July, a Young Innovators’ Panel spent the day at South Staff Water’s office in Walsall. The panel was made up of over 20 young people, aged between 16 and 18, who have signed up from schools across the South Staffs region.

As part of their visit, the young innovators were provided with an overview of how South Staffs Water’s business works, hearing directly from key figures from around the organisation, including our MD Phil Newland. The group was split into teams and briefed on a real-life business task for them to work on over the summer holidays. The crux of the task was about ‘how to change the way their generation thinks about how it uses water’.

The Young Innovators were encouraged to tackle the problem by using their imagination and ideas. Discussing and looking at the facts of how their generation views water usage will also make them think about how they themselves possibly take it for granted. Having such a valuable resource as water on tap means most people of any age never think of the wider picture. By having to solve a problem, the youngsters will have to seek out creative ways to engage with their generation, to make them feel responsible for how everyone – not just their peers – uses water.

In the autumn, they will be back at South Staffs to present their business ideas on 3rd October, to a judging panel of South Staff’s Group Chairman Sir James Perowne, Managing Director Phil Newland and Head of Retail Services, Rachael Merrell, along with two members of South Staff Water’s independent customer panel, Simon Sperryn and John Giles.

Phil Newland, Managing Director at South Staffs Water, was very encouraged by the young peoples’ responses: “Everyone was very impressed with how the panel engaged with our staff and was genuinely interested in how the water business worked. Water usage is a question for every generation, but with the changing climate and sustainability and environmental issues, the question has never been more pertinent than now. We’re looking forward to October to hearing what the panel comes back with. Their response will no doubt shed light on areas that we perhaps were unaware of and they will see that their views can make a real difference to the future”.