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NWG Innovation Festival 2018: Driving innovation with The Lab and people power

Richard Steeples, Senior Product & Strategy Manager at The Lab, discusses O2’s partnership with Northumbrian Water Group and our role at this month’s NWG Innovation Festival.

Innovation is top of the agenda in Newcastle between 9 and 13 July, when the second, annual NWG Innovation Festival takes place at Newcastle Racecourse. It’s a unique event, highlighting a series of today’s societal and environmental challenges and applying design thinking techniques, or sprints, to identify innovative and creative solutions for them.

Smiling happy people power

O2 is delighted to join festival host Northumbrian Water Group (NWG), and our specialist innovation division, The Lab, will be leading the sprint focused on people and their experiences. We will be looking at how innovation can help employers ensure that their employees are happy, healthy and safe while at work, and seeking innovative answers to a single, fundamental question:

How can we create a happier and more productive workforce?

We hear the phrase “people are our strongest asset” all the time and yet it is only relatively recently that research studies back up the causal link between a happy workforce and business productivity. In 2017, two studies by the University of Warwick and Harvard Business Review demonstrate that when a company’s employees are happy and motivated, their organisation thrives.

At O2 we strongly believe in ensuring work is something that you want to do, not something you have to do. We have always believed that happy employees are far more creative in their thinking and better able to deliver outstanding experiences for our customers. It is the people who work for us that have helped us become the mobile network operator with a consistently high customer satisfaction in the UK according to The Institute of Customer Service.

Back to the NWG Innovation Festivaland some of the most innovative players from UK business will be joining us to explore the issues and come up with creative and innovative solutions. So why not join us between 9 and 13 July and see how innovation can help improve the lives of our workforce?

The Lab

As a specialist innovation division within O2, you may not have come across The Lab before. The Lab Team are at the forefront of the innovation process within O2, and are key in developing new approaches to product development. The Lab has a wide remit focused on the business opportunities that new technologies can bring to O2, and provides thought leadership in a number of technology areas including:

  • Customer Experience
  • Data Driven Decisioning, e.g. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Immersive experiences such as Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR)
  • Incubation and partnerships
  • Operational Excellence

With The Lab’s focus on innovation, and with O2’s obsession for ensuring that the people we employ enjoy coming to work every day, our partnership with Northumbria Water Group makes perfect sense. If you can’t make it to the festival, you can follow what the ‘Happy, healthy, safe employees’ sprint team comes up with by visiting the NWG Innovation Festival website. There will be live updates throughout the event.

If you’d like to find out more about The Lab, and the work that we do, you can watch this video. We’d love to hear from you. You can get in touch here.

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