In the age of makers and startups, innovation develops globally, so that anyone can bring a product or a solution to the marketplace that can change the way businesses operate and improve the performance of entire market segments.
Open innovation and crowdsourcing have entered into the vocabulary of large businesses like the Enel Group, which has launched a number of initiatives based on these business models in order to streamline processes and improve production while innovating the technology used in its activities. Some well known examples include the Enel Lab business incubator and the open innovation initiatives Join the Race to the Clean Energy Future, launched by Enel Green Power, Endesa 2244 and the Eidos Market crowdsourcing platform, which is accessible to the more than 71,000 employees who work for the Enel Group.
In the energy industry digital innovation regards electricity generation and distribution, plant management and maintenance and services for customers. Through its projects aimed at both makers and consumers, Enel is at the centre of a network of dialogue that brings together businesses, research centres and startups. One example is the Enel Distribuzione initiative for the developers from all over the world who participated in Microsoft's global hackathon, enabling them to develop prototype applications using data from the Enel smart info device. Another is the crowdsourcing initiative that led to the inclusion of Enel's retail stores and electric car charging stations within the geo-referenced dataset in the latest version of the Linked Open Data cloud achieved by the Mannheim University.