Service Innovation

Increasing pressures on water resources from climate change, population growth and environmental standards require innovation in the water sector. This has been recognised in the UK in the Cave Review, Water White Paper and through recent efforts by Defra and Ofwat. However, the focus has remained on technological innovation rather than service innovation.

In 2014/15 the Technical Committee undertook a survey and interviews to develop case studies and produce a definition of service innovation for efficient water management:


Service Innovation for the water sector places the water service provider customer as the focus of service innovation. The customer is both the catalyst and recipient of transformative change in concepts (ideas and initiatives, such as alternative tariffs, data visualisation), technological solutions (especially ICT), delivery systems (for example accurate billing, email, instant messaging) and supple organisational structures (for instance responsible processes, people and teams). Service Innovation enables the customer to select the appropriate options to enhance their experience, leading to a valued integrated water management service.

In 2015/16 we plan to further outline the benefits of Service Innovation approaches, apply our definition to a range of case-studies, and investigate implications for the 2019 water company water resources and business plans in the UK as well as wider sectors. Our four key tasks include (see our strategy document for more details):

1.    Papers and Journal Articles
2.    Webinar and workshop
3.    WATECON 2016 conference
4.    Collaboration and communication

Committee Members

Chair:  Dr Sarah Ward

Dr Sarah Ward is a chartered water and environmental manager and a chartered environmentalist. Based at the University of Exeter, she has an interdisciplinary research portfolio across a range of themes including water sector resilience & sustainability, alternative water supply systems, health impacts of drought and water sector service innovation. In relation to the latter, she established a social enterprise, RainShare, which aims to explore alternative business models to facilitate sharing of roof runoff where practical. She has won support for RainShare from a range of organisations, most recently InnovateUK - read her interview here:

Mr Aaron Burton  Waterwise
Mr Steve Brown  Water Energy Nexus
Mr Siraj Tahir  ARUP
Dr. George Chen  Strathclyde University
Dr Kemi Adeyeye  WATEF Network Lead
Mr Noel Mannion  Galliard Homes
Dr Sarah Ward  University of Exeter (chair)
Mr Craig Gordon  Oxford Innovation
Terms of Reference

Scope of Activities & Strategies

Meeting Minutes/Annual Reports/Papers & Presentations

Events & Activities