Innovability Days, changing to survive

Published on Monday, 13 June 2016

Energy is entering a new era and the sector offers tremendous opportunities to those who are able to open up to innovation without reservation. At the same time, an increasing number of investors select companies based on their social and environmental sustainability practices. Today, the mission of a company such as Enel must therefore be to create shared value and innovation through sustainability, opening its doors to technological evolution and integrating it into production processes.

The issue was discussed at Innovability Days, a three-day event organised by our company and held at our headquarters in Rome. The event was opened by Enel Innovation and Sustainability Head Ernesto Ciorra: “Without innovation our business cannot be sustainable. In order to innovate, we need to be sustainable. We have therefore coined the term “innovability”, by combining innovation and sustainability, and created a division within our organization.” 

Disruptive technologies, explained Ciorra, are revolutionising the world, particularly the energy sector. “In recent years, innovation has unexpectedly opened valuable borders. To continue to survive as a company, we must implement these technologies before others do. Innovability means creating a better world that we would like to be a part of.”

Each speaker had ten minutes to explain their innovation and sustainability projects to the audience. Directors and innovation managers of Country and Business Lines spoke on behalf of Enel, while external guests such as Oscar Di Montigny (Chief Marketing, Communication, Innovation Officer of Banca Mediolanum), David Orban (Advisor & Faculty Singularity University) and Silvia Farina (former Italian tennis champion) were invited to share their professional experiences.

Among the keywords that emerged from the discussion were sharing – which is key to developing new ideas and overcoming mistakes – and openness. In order to respond rapidly and innovatively to changes that take place in society, the best minds must collaborate not only within, but also outside a company. With this conviction, Enel has therefore embraced an Open Innovation model, a paradigm of 360-degree openness, ranging from startups to large businesses and from universities and research centres to single innovative projects.

The event also hosted the award ceremony of the My Best Failure programme, in which Enel employees around the world shared their unsuccessful attempts with colleagues, thereby creating shared experiences to learn from and to improve.

“Technology is able to destroy and create new frontiers. We must pay careful attention to social changes as they can radically change customers’ needs and respond to them by innovating. In order to succeed, you have to take risks and be “failure tolerant”: only those who make mistakes can change”, concluded Ernesto Ciorra.