A company’s policies are fundamental as they represent its charter of values. International prizes are also important because they confirm that we are on the right track, but if there’s one experience that really invigorates and consolidates the culture of diversity and inclusion in our Group, then it’s We are Energy. This is the project that, for the last 15 years, has brought together children (aged between 7 and 18) of Enel staff from all over the world.
To date, 60 thousand youngsters from almost all of the 34 countries in which we are present have taken part in We are Energy, and 1,600 have won prizes. This year the competition received 2,000 entries and selected 133 prizewinners from 16 different countries (Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Colombia, Greece, Guatemala, Italy, India, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Romania, South Africa, Spain and the USA).
The diversity that creates value
But it was the theme selected for this edition that really made it special: diversity and inclusion summed up in the title “as Unique as U.” Not only are these the core values of our Group, they are also a connecting thread linking together all editions of We are Energy, both past and future. Indeed, this is why every summer, for the last 15 years, Enel has gathered together the energy of the young people of different ages and from different countries who take part in the international campus.
“Diversity and inclusion are vital themes for Enel,” explained the company’s Chairman Patrizia Grieco at Celebration Day 2019, which was held at the Enel auditorium in Rome on 24 July and broadcast via livestream to all of the countries in which the Group is present. “We must not fear difference: all human beings are different from one another, diversity is value,” added Grieco who, to make her point, used the metaphor of an orchestra. “When each musician is warming up, the collection of individual sounds just creates noise, but when the show begins, something magical happens and that diversity of sounds comes together to form a wonderful musical harmony. This is exactly what we are trying to achieve each day when we come into contact with people around the world.”
CEO Francesco Starace explained how the presence of our Group in so many countries is a genuine resource as diversity serves as a stimulus for innovation. “There are many different ways to do the same thing, so many different solutions for the same problem: seeing things from another point of view is enriching, doing things together enables us to learn from others.”
Two campuses, from videogames to projects for startups
This year, the event’s 15th edition, was extra special as the international campus was split in two, based on two distinct age groups. The traditional location in Avigliano Umbro (Terni), in central Italy, welcomed 97 youngsters aged between 7 and 14 to the Diversity & Inclusion Explorers campus, where art activities, workshops and video gaming were the stimuli for reflections on cultural integration. Thanks to the collaboration with artist Diego Marcon, a short film was produced on celluloid, while in another workshop a videogame was developed called Pick Waste Up, based on the theme of refuse collection.
Meanwhile our Innovation Hub & Lab in Catania, Sicily, hosted the Startupper of the future campus, where 35 youngsters aged from 15 to 18 were involved in a training programme that culminated in the creation of a business project on the theme of diversity and inclusion, but they also met with some of the people staying at the Colonia Don Bosco, a reception centre for migrants arriving in Italy.
Five projects, including business plans and prototypes, were presented at Celebration Day by the team leaders of the working groups. Tomás Navarro presented the “App to remember” designed to help people who suffer from Alzheimer’s; Boris Prokhorov’s group came up with “Edible tools,“ cutlery made from organic, comestible and biodegradable material. Fiorella Surco, on the other hand, presented the “2Geder” project, which was designed for people with special dietary requirements, while Alexandru Bulzan’s group presented “Bionic Energy”: this posed the question of how to make technology accessible to people with disabilities. And, last but not least, Giulia Zangrando presented a concept store (“Human Pride”) which is designed to add value to every type of diversity.
These ideas, which grew out of discussions between the youngsters, confirmed the importance of diversity as a factor in innovation. This topic was also tackled by this year’s special guest, FabLab founder Massimo Temporelli, who pointed out how “all the great ideas that have changed the world started with young people aged between 14 and 25.” Temporelli also underlined the importance of planning and design thinking, remembering the lesson of Leonardo da Vinci, whom he still likes to consider “our contemporary,” in spite of the fact that he died more than 500 years ago.
Confirmation of We are Energy’s role as a hothouse for ideas came thanks to the story of Francesco Nuzzi, a 7-time winner of Enel’s global contest, who has turned this experience into a career by creating the international Art Lab campuses. “First of all, I would like to thank my father, who works for Enel in Foggia and who perhaps is watching me right now,” said Francesco.
This year the format for Celebration Day had the feel of a radio broadcast, also because for the second year running, it was presented by Filippo Solibello, the well-known voice of the “Caterpillar” radio show which is broadcast on Radiodue. He was joined by video maker and YouTuber Luis Sal. Just like on the radio, music played an important role, demonstrating just how much energy can be conveyed with the help of drums and percussion instruments. This was evident in the enthralling “drum circle” finale which involved all of the youngsters from We are Energy who were present at the auditorium. It was a fitting end as so much diversity came together to play in harmony, just like an orchestra.