Data-driven innovation

Published on Thursday, 21 December 2017

Big Data, big business. There is virtually no limit to the volume of data that companies can gather these days. But being able to process that data and put it to the most efficient use is pivotal to competitiveness, helping businesses reduce risk, predict results on investments and enjoy less uncertain market relations.

This was the central theme of Enel’s Chief Innovability Officer Ernesto Ciorra’s address to the fourth World Open Innovation Conference in San Francisco, one of the leading Open Innovation events on the international stage and at which the Enel Group was also presented with the Business Model Transformation Award.

The common denominator in all the main innovation trends today is Big Data. The Internet of Things is a case in point: objects of all kinds connected to each other online to map movements, routes, times and actions with the aim of defining a whole new paradigm of efficiency. Ciorra responded to the call for challenges at the event by posing the question of how the Open Innovation approach can help companies to become more data-driven organisations, capitalising as efficiently as possible on the information in their possession. The stakes are high indeed because this factor has direct consequences for the ability of individual firms to compete on the market. To tackle this particular challenge, our Group developed an Open Innovation strategy known as Open Power. This focuses on gathering visions and insights, many of which extend beyond the company parameters, and then integrating them into the Group’s day-to-day operations in order to create seamless innovation.

This approach was rewarded at the San Francisco event with an important plaudit. “The award demonstrates how the Enel Group as a whole – and not just the Innovability section – has worked on innovating well beyond the psychological and business paradigms, the dominant rules that limit our way of working each and every day,” commented Ciorra.

“We have been rewarded both for shaking up the status quo, by creating new business models like Vehicle to Grid and Enel Open Fiber, and for succeeding in changing our organisation, enriching our company with structured input from both in-house and external stakeholders”

– Ernesto Ciorra, Enel’s Chief Innovability Officer

The goal of our Open Power strategy is to create a global ecosystem capable of connecting talents and ideas, to create an exchange that will instigate profound changes to the context in which our Group works and intends to be a key player. In the last 12 months alone, we have opened three new innovation hubs - in San Francisco (US), in Moscow (Russia) and in Madrid (Spain) - to flank the existing ones in Tel Aviv (Israel), Santiago (Chile) and Sao Paulo (Brazil). The aim is to provide the Group with privileged observers in areas of very intense innovation and research in order to establish contacts with startups for collaborative projects in the energy sector and beyond.

“This award is an acknowledgment of our instigation of a genuine Open Innovation model featuring 130 partnerships worldwide, more than 2,300 startups evaluated, the introduction of culture-challenging initiatives such as My Best Failure, the Enel Innovation World Cup and No More Excuses, and the launch of the Open Innovability crowdsourcing platform,” continued Ciorra. “It is also a recognition of our use of Open Innovation to deliver genuine results, thanks to input from every area of the company: from those that enable innovation (legal, human resources, procurement, communication, etc.) to the business lines that implement it. This award is also an acknowledgement of the huge work, commitment and passion we all bring to the table, starting with our CEO, our Chairman and the members of the board, and extending all the way to the recruits who wrote to us to suggest how we could improve. A body cannot change unless all its parts change together and that is what we are doing.”