Winnovators – our exciting employee programme

Seqwater - Winnovators 2017 winning team shot with gumboots

In our signature employee development programme, teams compete from across the world to solve a real challenge from our work. Winnovators raise money, share ideas and develop new skills and leadership qualities along the way.

15 Australian Teams competing in the Winnovators Global Challenge 2018!

We are really excited to announce that an unprecedented number of 15 teams from 10 Australian corporations will be competing with teams from the US, UK and other countries in the Winnovators 2018 aimed at solving water, sanitation and hygiene challenges in India!

Over a 9 month challenge (April-December) teams will use their community engagement, marketing, technical and leadership skills to transform futures through clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene.

Below the registered teams for the 2018 edition:

  • ARUP – 2 teams
  • Bureau of Meteorology – 1 team
  • City West Water – 1 team
  • GHD – 3 teams
  • North East Water – 1 team
  • Queensland Urban Utilities – 1 team
  • Seqwater – 1 team
  • Steel Mains Pty Ltd ­–­­ 1 team
  • Sydney Water – 3 teams
  • Yarra Valley Water – 1 team

In the two videos below, Rosie Wheen (Chief Executive of WaterAid Australia), Jonathan McKeown (CEO of the Australian Water Association) and Adam Lovell (CEO of the Water Services Association of Australia) thank all the participants for signing up to the Challenge, explain how Winnovators works and encourage companies to gear up for the next edition in 2019!


What's in it for you?

For managers, Winnovators is an innovative form of staff skills development, making it a great way for you to enhance your employee offer.

For businesses, Winnovators is a unique corporate and social responsibility programme, enhancing business profile while contributing ideas and funds to tackle the global water, sanitation and hygiene crisis. 

For team members, it’s a fun learning experience that helps develop creative and critical thinking and deepen your relationship with your team – all while raising your profile in your company.

  • 92% would recommend Winnovators to others
  • 96% developed skills that can be applied in the workplace
  • 92% achieved personal learning objectives

How does it work?

Your team of six to eight people will tackle a real water, sanitation or hygiene challenge from a country where we work. To win the chance of visiting that country, you’ll compete with teams around the world to find innovative solutions to the problem.

You will learn new ways to engage internal and external stakeholders while raising valuable funds for WaterAid. 

Winnovators is a great opportunity to develop your skills and rise to a new challenge. To take full advantage of it, you’ll need to commit to around two days a month over the duration of the programme, which lasts from March to September each year.

We give you everything you need to solve the challenge, fundraise and learn. Our Winnovators team will support you every step of the way.

See what it's all about

Get your team on board

"We are all so glad to have been involved in such a meaningful and rewarding project. It’s been an incredible journey on which we really feel like we’ve developed as professionals and been able to channel our creativity. We would really encourage other businesses and teams to join in with this brilliant challenge."
Nick Blamire-Brown - Team Aspara, Anglian Water, joint 2016 winners.
"The Water Innovators programme has been a great learning experience for our graduate talent. Our teams worked hard to solve a complex real-world problem, bid for seed funding and thought creatively about how they could raise funds."
Nicki Gray - Advisory Consulting Programme, People, L&D and Strategy Lead, Ernst & Young

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I sign up?

Fill out this registration form.

You will then be emailed links to further forms for your team and project sponsor.

The deadline for applications is 23 February.

What are the different challenges?

The challenges are not only about the technology or engineering, but reflect the complex nature of our work. This includes areas such as business models, taking ideas to scale and hygiene promotion.

The real world challenges from India this year are:

  • Water – channel your business skills and propose a model to scale up women’s groups to turn a profit and offer a range of services including water quality testing
  • Sanitation – channel your engineering and community engagement skills and provide a solution to the mechanics of twin pit latrines and a community engagement plan for sanitation
  • Hygiene – channel your communication and application development skills and create hygiene promotion materials to use in schools that inspire children to spread the word about effective hygiene in their community
Is there a financial commitment ?

In Australia, companies need to be members of WaterAid to participate.

For this programme, we ask that your company underwrites the seed fund provided by WaterAid, in case your team fails to deliver a minimum profit.
We also ask that your company gives your Winnovators team time and support, so they can really excel and you can maximise the value for your company.

What's the prize?

For the 2018 programme, one lucky team will be crowned Global Overall Winner and get to visit our work in India (terms and conditions apply).

When are the winners announced?

In October, each year.

Which is the challenge country for 2018?

This year, the challenge country is India.

How does Winnovators benefit the chosen country?

Ideas and solutions are shared with – and judged by – the feature country for them to put into practice.
The funding aspect means that in 2016, the Winnovators teams raised over $244,000 for our work.
The overall winner of the 2017 Winnovators, Scottish Water, will go to Nicaragua and test out the solutions generated by their Winnovators team & report back on their progress.