Digital-Flood Dragons: stories, prizes and digital innovation

flood and coast conference

Written by Jim Walker, Flood Risk Manager, Environment Agency

The Environment Agency has a fresh new venture during the 2019 Flood and Coast Conference: LetsGetDigital Day. The 20th June will feature exciting presentations on the use of digital technology in the flood world. There will be two competitions, facilitated by the brand-new conference app, and tempting prizes sponsored by Atkins.

LetsGetDigital is a gauntlet laid down by the Environment Agency (EA) to stimulate the digital innovation in the Flood and Coast industries. Already the EA provides a plethora of open data, LetsGetDigital is about  the creativity and imagination of potential partners in making use of that data. LetsGetDigital will also showcase existing digital stories: one of the competitions will celebrate the ongoing digital journeys of the conference exhibitors. The objective behind LetsGetDigital is two-pronged – to encourage those not currently employing digital to embrace it; and to uncover from those who possess digital skills whether they can add value to the world of Flood and Coast.

LetsGetDigital is the result of a partnership between the Environment Agency and Digital Gaps – a startup organisation helping innovative businesses with digital capability to develop new products to support public sector issues. Together they have developed a simple app to run two competitions for the conference. To participate, attendees must download the app (available from the App Store and Google Play from 3rd June) or go to the Digital Trail Website.

Competition 1 – Pitch to Prototype

Do you have an innovative idea that would carry with the Dragons? All digitally innovative businesses are invited to ‘pitch’ an idea that might add value to the following 4 flood-related areas – Education, Preparedness, Incident management and Analysing data.

The best 5 ideas will be selected by an EA panel, and these will get the opportunity to pitch their idea to four Flood-Dragons on day 3 of the conference. The Flood Dragons (who are Senior Digital Directors and Innovators in the public and private sectors) will provide expertise in data, flood management, commercial and marketing strategy. They will then question the ‘pitcher’ before declaring themselves to be ‘in’ or ‘out’.

Following the Flood-Dragons, the audience will be asked for their decision – are they ‘in’ or ‘out’? The winner will be the idea with the most audience votes, and will have the opportunity to co-develop their idea with the EA.

All original IP will remain with the idea pitcher, and the co-development will look to commercialise it.

Competition 2 – Digital Stories QR Trail

To celebrate the great work that many organisations are currently doing with digital in the flood field, Flood and Coast 2019 exhibitors have provided engaging content which can be accessed through the Digital Flood-Dragon App.


Conference attendees can simply ask exhibitors for their digital story and they will be presented with a QR code; use their mobile device to scan it and all will be revealed.

Anyone collecting all of the available digital stories will be automatically entered into a draw which will take place at the start of the Digital Flood-Dragons session. The winners of the draw must be present to claim their prizes (first prize is an i-Pad, second prize is a Kindle). All those completing the digital trail will also be in the running to receive a mystery prize from the Defra-Digital stand.

The Digital Flood-Dragon event will not only provide entertainment at the conference but will also raise awareness of what digital can provide in terms of: efficiencies, early warnings, education,preparedness and improved incident management.


Find out more about LetsGetDigital day and Digital Flood Dragons here

Sign up for tickets to the Flood and Coast Conference 2019 here

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