Innovation and digitisation, Enel is looking forward


Enel is positioning itself as a pioneer  in the approach open to startups and investments in the digital sector. A leadership that emerged also at the PoliMi conference "Open Digital Innovation: companies and startups together to reshape the future".

Finding new ways to manage digital innovation is a priority of many large Italian companies, which increasingly consider digitising a key business lever.

This is what emerged from the study conducted by the Digital Transformation Academy Observatory of the Milan Polytechnic School of Management through a poll of 205 chief information officers and chief innovation officers of Italian companies and public administrations. It was presented yesterday in Milan with the PoliHub Startup and Intelligence Observatory, during the "Open Digital Innovation conference: businesses and startups together to reshape the future".

The picture taken by the Observatory's experts shows that the investments in ICT will continue to grow in 2017 with an overall trend in line with 2016, between 0.5% and 0.6%, with a focus on ERP, Big Date Business Intelligence and Analytics-digitisation and dematerialisation. In addition, 39% of the interviewees consider that digital spending will not only affect the directions of information and communication technology, but will also be used by other directions.

On the other hand, difficulties remain in the approach and in the relationship with startups and research and innovation centres, where partnerships are often hampered by organisational problems and a lack of cultural openness. The main difficulty for 58% of the companies regards the definition of processes and mechanisms for coordination and cooperation between the business divisions. Added to the lack of digital skills and knowledge of mechanisms for scouting, assessment and development within the organisation.

In addition, it is true that the interest towards Open Innovation is growing among the managers of Italian companies, with the innovation process becoming more agile, shared and open to external players, such as startups, research centres, customers, and even competitors. Nevertheless, the major sources of innovation in the last three years remain in rather "traditional" areas: technology vendors and sourcers (40%), Business lines (38%), external customers (29%) and consulting companies (26%). The trend for the next three years is a reduction of all these sources, however, though 45% of companies have not yet launched any Open Innovation initiative.

A framework in which Enel presents itself as a pioneer in Italy of a new innovation model, as evidenced in the course of the round table Organising for innovation: how are businesses changing us?. Enel’s Head of Startups Initiatives and Business Incubator Luciano Tommasi who explained how our Group embraced the Open Innovation approach, and turned into a cornerstone of its growth strategy.

"The debate sponsored by PoliMi - explains Tommasi – showed how, compared to other major Italian groups, Enel’s structure enables it to interpret new technology and business  trends  and to therefore seize the opportunities that originate from them. To this end, the top management’s decision to turn innovation into a tool supporting business to test and launch new products and services was essential and successful".

Tommasi  also emphasized: "we have developed an open platform to the outside world through which we come into contact with the startups with the highest potential and we develop together strategic projects with them. Moreover, in 2016 we initiated the launch of the Innovation Hubproject that was executed with the opening of the Hubs in Israel, Chile and Brazil, and that will continue in 2017 with Silicon Valley, Singapore and Italy. These Hubs are the Group's service and have the function of attracting innovation, understanding it, make it usable for Enel through concrete projects with startups and ultimately contaminate the Group with an entrepreneurial spirit”.

" This new approach, he concludes, "is the result of work begun about three years ago that saw Enel engaged in defining processes, develop best practices, and work actively to develop an entrepreneurial culture that rewards lateral thinking and is always looking for new opportunities for the Group. All this work flows into the Group's new Strategic Plan that identified in the digital platforms a resource to improve business as usual and enter new market segments such as the vehicle to grid".