Enhancing diverse collaboration and knowledge exchange as part of our water innovation journey

One of KWR’s strategic priorities in our current business plan is diversity and inclusion, and this includes empowering our young water professionals to be the leaders of the future. At the IWA World Water Congress in Copenhagen from September 11-15, KWR emphasized not only the value we place on our young professionals, but also the importance of collaboration and our networks to exchange and co-create knowledge for innovative water research and practice. We had no idea that at this particular IWA Congress that such a similar story would reveal itself, with IWA placing a renewed focus on collaboration and empowering young water professionals. Read more below to find out about our experiences!

KWR and Friends at the 2022 IWA World Water Congress in Copenhagen

The IWA World Water Congress and Exhibition (IWA WWCE) from 11-15 September 2022 was a great success for the KWR delegation in attendance. Our motto for the week was “KWR and Friends” and during this time, we celebrated our many invaluable partnerships and collaborations among the Dutch and international water sectors. KWR friends were invited to the booth to discuss on daily themes, such as circular economy, water quality and health, and digital water. With daily activities, we learned from each other and further deepened our knowledge sharing and exchange. With an emphasis on collaboration among our networks, KWR and Friends gained a heightened perspective of the importance of diversity and inclusion in all that we do to deliver innovative water sector research and solutions. Over the course of the week, the sessions, activities and keynotes at the congress highlighted the importance of effective collaboration across stakeholders, sectors, generations and experience levels in the water sector. With that all attendees felt a renewed sense of inspiration to contribute in their own ways to this journey.

Diversity and Inclusion for Innovative Solutions in the Water Sector

If we see collaboration as the door to new opportunities, diversity and inclusion is the key to further enabling the generation of new and innovative solutions and working towards a truly water-inclusive future. KWR, and many of our partners, hosted young professionals, or as we like to call them, “Early Careers” at the KWR & Friends booth. This decision for us highlights the importance of intergenerational and inter-experience thinking in all that we do in water research and practice. From KWR’s side, Janine de Wit, Nienke Meekel, Siddharth Seshan, Raül Glotzbach and myself attended as part of the Early Career delegation. Our ambition was to shake up the system and build relationships with our existing partners, as well as new networks while at the congress. A first for KWR, the Early Careers had only positive experiences to share! Each of the Early Careers is an expert in the topics explored at the KWR & Friends booth.

Nienke Meekel, Water Quality and Health Expert – Chemical Water Quality & Health: “It was truly inspiring to see the engagement of other young water professionals during the congress, and being able to talk to leading experts within the water sector.”

Siddharth Seshan, Digital Water Expert – Water Treatment and Resource Recovery: “Visiting the congress was an unforgettable journey. The sheer size of the event and the wealth of knowledge present gives us early careers a true perspective of the strength of the water community that we are part of and the importance of our work. It was fantastic to see KWR being in the thick of things, providing a comfortable and centralized location for our friends and collaborators!”

Janine de Wit, Circular Economy Expert –  Ecohydrology: “It was really inspiring to attend the IWA. It was fantastic to broaden my horizons in the water sector, and to go deeper into topics with experts. And certainly, to get inspired by other early careers working in the water sector.”

Innovation happens when there is a diversity of ideas and levels of experience coming together. Working together across our networks and expertise areas, we can effectively co-create knowledge and new ideas for a sustainable future. We look forward to continuing on this journey and empowering our early careers and other important stakeholders and KWR partners to do the same.

More blogs!

Stay tuned for blogs from Janine, Nienke and Siddharth on their topics of expertise (Circular Economy, Water Quality and Health, and Digital Water, respectively) and all that they learned and experienced from the Congress, and what these new ideas mean for the future of their work in the water sector.