'Made in Enel' Grows With Startups

Published on Monday, 4 May 2015

'Made in Enel' innovation" has a history as long as that of the company itself, involves every aspect of the electricity sector in which the Group operates, engages every day with the global market.  And in the age of digital technology it has mutated and has opened up to networks that  include both big companies and small 2.0 businesses.

Smart meters, e-mobility infrastructure, geothermal plant fume scrubbers  and super-efficient boilers at thermal electric facilities are only a few among the best cases of an innovation tradition that is acknowledged also abroad.  As recalled by Enel's Director of Innovation and Sustainability Ernesto Ciorra in a recent interview, "we are not the ones who are saying it, it's the US government, which through its Energy Agency is investing almost a million dollars to understand how we have managed to build the first plant in the world that combines solar, geothermal and photovoltaic power: a mission that MIT considered impossible but Enel managed to achieve".

Digital technologies and the global dimension that characterise the new global scenario have also transformed the dynamics of innovation, which is no longer developed in single centres of excellence, but has instead turned into an open network in which big companies and international institutions are in constant relation with small startups and even individual makers.

Open innovation has become the customary framework for projects that can transform entire industries, as has happened, for instance, in the mobile sector: once based on texts, its market has been disrupted by the sudden irruption of products such as WhatsApp and the spreading of social media channels.

Present innovation requires that companies look outside their own context and establish strategic partnerships aimed to create a network of useful synergies and  distinctive strengths. "Enel has various resources and skills that can be shared and combined with those of its partners, with a wide network of people ready to integrate external impulses into structured innovation systems in various countries and corporate areas", Ernesto Ciorra explained. From the startups selected through the INCENSe programme to the new renewable energy technologies that are identified through constant scouting among 2.0 businesses, Enel is continuing its long innovation tradition by following the open global path that is turning every corner of the world into the potential place of origin of tomorrow's revolution.