Last week, a number of the Ntegra team were busy taking part in Northumbrian Waters Innovation Festival, the first of its kind to be held digitally. The festival aims to gather some of the greatest and most innovative minds from the worlds of business, science, tech, engineering, utilities and customer services and get them to tackle real-world problems together in a series of sprints.
Ntegra had kindly been asked by Northumbrian Water to host a sprint. The theme of this sprint was “Get Yourself Connected” with a focus on exploring how to keep employees digitally connected and working collaboratively in our ‘new working from home normal’.
By the end of the week, our sprint generated three concepts:
An app-based place for short, informal interaction between staff members. Whilst the sprint team appreciate that virtual watercoolers have been much discussed during the national lockdown, the team felt the UI/UX and cooler ‘mechanic’ developed in the week were particularly innovative.
A knowledge-gathering bot aimed as harvesting, sharing knowledge and process to support a variety of use cases. The sprint team looked in-depth at some operational scenarios where they saw a positive business case in reducing the number of callouts on support rotas as well as improving staff morale by reducing unnecessary out of hours calls.
A modern take on a corporate Intranet, with a focus on active content, personalisation on the individual user, with mock-ups their health and wellbeing as well as their connections to others. The sprint team received feedback saying that the user interface we developed was better than some of the Intranet products that had been previously reviewed.
Ntegra has always believed in using a user-centred design process which complimented the Innovation Festival well and it is amazing to look back on what had been achieved not only remotely but also in such a short amount of time. It goes without saying that the Ntegra team are already looking forward to next years festival!
Here are some thoughts about the week from the Ntegra members of the sprint:
‘The NWIF was a fantastically well-run event, full of great people and ideas. Getting to interact with a variety of interesting and capable people to solve problems was hugely rewarding. I think the nature of ‘sprinting remotely’ works better than a full week sprint face-to-face…short sharp bursts of creativity with pockets of time to take a breather, take in other parts of the festival and get ready to go again. The ‘Connected Sprint’ generated some genuinely innovative ideas that address real problems for our colleagues at NWG and I’m proud to have played a small part. I’m excited to see where those ideas go from here. Huge thanks to the NWG for allowing us to be part of it.’
Mick Winters, Transformation Director
‘It is always great to work with the NWG team – one of the most positive and ‘can-do’ companies we know. The festival proved that you can drive innovation whilst being distributed not just nationally, but globally. I am proud of what we achieved during the week – it would take weeks of effort in a normal environment to deliver a similar outcome.’
Andy Langley, CEO