Enel Innovating with Crowdsourcing and Start-ups

Published on Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Startups, crowdsourcing, cleantech: these are the sorts of innovation that enable the finding of sustainable and environmentally-friendly solutions not only through developments in technology, but also by making the most of people's skills and talents.

Enel has a long history of innovation, with the Group's research leading to cutting-edge solutions such as electronic meters, thin-film PV solar panels, energy storage systems and unique plants like the hydrogen-powered combined cycle plant in Fusina in Italy or the Stillwater facility in the USA, which combines geothermal, solar thermal and PV solar power.

Research and human capital are both essential for businesses that have to deal with continuous marketplace evolution, the arrival of new technologies and customer needs. This is why Enel is collecting and looking to maximize the potential of proposals, ideas and projects that originate from the creativity of young people, the experience of employees and the talent of businessmen from around the world.

EGP recently launched Join the Race to the Clean Energy Future, which will see the collection of cutting-edge ideas for improving plant performance, integrating renewable energy use into urban areas and the use of new green resources such as wave energy. Proposals that combine innovative ideas with sustainability will be assessed by Enel Green Power's Innovation department, who will offer possible partnerships for the right ideas.

Enel Lab, a clean energy business incubator that was launched in 2012 is an example of crowdsourcing involving Italian and Spanish start-ups, who can receive between €250,000 to €650,000 in funding. It also offers cross-fertilisation between start-ups, administrative support and a tutoring service that offers the use of Enel's laboratories, where prototypes can be tested and developed.

Crowdsourcing and human capital are also important ingredients of Eidos Market, an online platform that is open to the more than 71,000 employees who work for Enel in 40 countries. This project is based on a bottom-up approach that allows everyone who works within the Group to aid innovation within the business by proposing and selecting project ideas.