Scottish water: IDEA MANAGEMENT

"The innovation pool"


Scottish Water is a public entity, a subsidiary of the Scottish government, which manages the infrastructure related to the distribution of water and collection of waste water throughout Scotland. It has 3.700 resources in its employ.

In Scottish Water the gradual, steady process of getting to know the logic behind Open Innovation has been addressed both inside as well as outside the organization: the change drivers include the need to increase the productivity of the employees as well as the desire to guarantee a certain level of communication to the client, timely, efficient and through various channels. The push for innovation is not so much created by the need to respond to external competition but rather to stimulate the continuous improvement of the services offered to citizens as well as the increasing attention paid to aspects of communication with the customer.

SW-homeAfter the limited success of some innovation initiatives based on the more traditional model of an “ideas box”, Scottish Water has launched Innovation Pool in the second half of 2010. This was as a response to the need for more structure in the innovation process and idea management, incorporating some innovative and organizational principles involving broad user-based, cross-company functions. This is expected to open the doors for all possible “carriers of ideas”, favouring the creation of an “innovation network”, where the participants may contribute actively with ideas, comments and timely feedback.


The Innovation pool is based on a platform of Idea Management Spigit, and is the right place to share and exchange ideas and proposals for improvement on different dimensions, such as operating efficiency, customer service, IT, sustainability and security. Apart from this mechanism of “open submission”, other “challenges” and problems have been encountered for which it has been necessary to obtain the feedback of the employees before making any further decision. Recently, the community has been made available also to the technological partners, giving access to the platform to external parties as a first step towards a full Open Innovation strategy.

9 months from the launch, the Innovation Pool counts 750 users and has generated over 330 new ideas and/or suggestions for improvement. Out of those, 7 have already been validated and implemented under tight deadlines. The sites receives on average about 10 posts (ideas, votes, comments) per day.