MEDWAYCAP unleashes innovation: tailoring new solutions for Non-Conventional Water Resources at Jordan Innovation Camp


A second remarkable Innovation Camp (IC) on Non-Conventional Water Resources (NCWR) took place in Amman, Jordan from 9-10 May 2023. The event exuded an atmosphere of boundless enthusiasm and genuine appreciation, effectively showcasing the transformative potential of collaboration, creativity, and forward-thinking in tackling water issues.

Likely the first IC in Tunis, the Jordan one was meticulously designed to foster collaborative ingenuity among some 50 participants. Bringing together experts in the water sector, researchers, entrepreneurs and young minds from diverse backgrounds and countries, the camp served as a melting pot of ideas and a platform for interdisciplinary exchange. 

The National Agricultural Research Center - NARC (Jordan), in collaboration with the International Center for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies - Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari - CIHEAM Bari (Italy) and with the support of the Euromediterranean Center for Sustainable Development - SVI.MED (Italy), as partners of MEDWAYCAP, along with the guiding support of the FUTOUR team, aimed to create an environment where participants could tap into their collective knowledge and come up with breakthrough concepts to address the three challenges tailored for the occasion. 

Particularly, in this camp, the challenges were about technology and innovation for non-conventional water resources - mainstreaming policies to enable upscaling within the market-orientation paradigm; financing and investment for non-conventional water resources- instruments for a circular economy framework; and towards a Mediterranean capitalisation alliance - the pathway for a long-term capitalization strategy at Mediterranean level, the only one that continued to debate about the prototypes reached during the previous camp in Tunisia.

This Innovation Camp was an excellent example of how the camping concept is evolving, while holding true to the basic tenets of the design. For the first time in the history of Innovation Camps, the Jordan Camp piloted a process for taking prototypes from an earlier Camp and focusing on innovative ways these could be realized in the real world. Regarding Challenge 3, along with a powerful reframing – the Medwaycap project itself as a Community of Practice – and promising proposals as takeaway, the three final reports were already drafted during the time available. Bringing together some 50 participants from 7 countries in two days of entrepreneurial discovery and challenge-driven cooperation, a set of a good results have been produced by all three challenges

From the outset, the camp's methodology emphasised a multi-dimensional approach. Using design thinking principles to prototype and test solutions, participants worked with facilitators through interactive brainstorming methods to reframe the challenges, look for opportunities, define goals, identify key stakeholders, build initial ideas, develop prototypes and a roadmap to test them in real-world scenarios. The methodology struck a delicate balance between individual exploration and group collaboration, allowing each participant's unique perspective to enrich the collective understanding. 

The camp served as a significant boost to my skills and knowledge in the field. Through engaging discussions, hands-on activities, and insightful presentations, I was able to delve deeper into the intricacies of financing and investing in non-conventional water resources. The diverse perspectives shared by experts and fellow participants broadened my understanding and provided valuable insights that I can now apply to my work. Furthermore, the camp was a rich source of personal growth. The exchange of experiences and ideas not only expanded my network but also allowed me to foster meaningful connections with individuals from various backgrounds. These connections have the potential to develop into long-lasting collaborations that can further drive innovation in our respective fields

Nine prototypes came out as a final result of the two days. As with the Tunis IC, the team is working diligently to produce a comprehensive final report that will serve as a blueprint to guide future work and ensure that the prototypes remain grounded in practicality. This report will encapsulate our collective efforts and provide valuable insights and recommendations to further refine and drive the prototypes towards their intended impact. 

Participants encouraged to think beyond the conventional, to challenge existing paradigms, and to explore innovative approaches:

The innovation camp holds a share of its name as truly the set up was innovative and the theme was unconventional as the title. A roller-coaster ride that boosted our adrenaline through heated discussions, intense teamwork, and innovative ideas. What I liked the most was the multidisciplinary backgrounds in the challenge which reflects how all thought leaders and change makers need to drive our transition to a just circular & green economy with no one left behind!

Amman's NCWR IC stands as a shining testament to the transformative power of collaboration and innovative thinking. It united passionate individuals, from various disciplines and backgrounds, with a common goal: finding sustainable solutions to boost NCWR. 

The true measure of the camp's success lies not only in the solutions it generated but also in the enduring impact it will have on the participants' future endeavours. By equipping these change-makers with the tools and mindset needed to confront water issues head-on, the MEDWAYCAP IC has set the stage for a more sustainable and water-secure future. Results and some prototypes, such as the MEDWAYCAP MoU (Memorandum of Understanding), will be presented and debated during the final conference in Barcelona.