Enel, innovation plays local

Published on Monday, 17 October 2016

The power company has launched the Innovation World Cup, an internal competition for the development of innovative business models

The most interesting inventions were not always made by experts after years of study. Sometimes it is simply the intuition of ordinary people, who realise something that no one had thought of before. Today's society, in particular, offers great scope for innovation, which is not only helpful in gaining a competitive advantage, but it is a necessary practice to survive on the market.

Enel has supported for years the countless opportunities offered by technological innovation and its drive, and this belief has launched the Innovation World Cup, an internal competition in which employees are asked to propose innovative business models that fall within the company’s strategic business. The proposals, classified by geographical area, will be evaluated by a committee chaired by the directors of each Enel Country. The winning team will have the opportunity to develop their projects locally. The selected works will be submitted to the Committee of the Innovation Group, chaired by the CEO Francesco Starace, which will support a global level all these projects.

In Italy we have been selected as finalists in a sustainability project and one pointing to the development of services for clients in the field of renewable energies. Their designers have taken part, at Luiss Enlabs, in a  three days training course held by professionals with extensive experience in the startup of new companies. During the event, the startuppers were also joined by colleagues from various lines of business at Enel, who have shared their expertise for the development of the projects.

"This competition gives our colleagues the opportunity to develop innovative business ideas within the company in a startup mode," says Daniela Ferraro of Enel’s Innovation and Sustainability. "Thus they combine two elements: the entrepreneurial spirit of his colleagues, who have joined voluntarily, and business skills that allow us to accelerate the processes compared to a classic startup. Thus we experience a new way of creating business models".

"In the meetings at Luiss Enlabs, Enel employees work on their projects as if they were a startup," explains the Director of Luiss EnLabs Augusto Coppola. "They will use a streamlined approach, so-called lean, which will ensure that their project can evaluated by the market quickly and with few resources”.

The Innovation World Cup, which involved about a thousand Enel employees from 11 different countries, is a concrete example of Open Innovation, the innovation approach adopted by the Group. An fully opened model, ranging from startups to large companies, from universities and research centres to individual innovative projects. Not only the contributions coming from the outside but also those from those who do not work daily on innovation – and for this reason can offer unexpected and therefore interesting viewpoints - are fundamental. The objective of Enel is to create an innovation factory that encourages an exchange between inside and outside, to power a real ecosystem development for the benefit of business and communities.