Digital technology: having the courage to change

Published on Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Another accolade to Enel’s ability to innovate. The Assochange Award, now in its sixth edition, was given in Milan on 1st December on the occasion of the presentation of the report of the Observatory on Change Management. This was created four years ago in order to record, analyse and classify the experiences of change in Italian companies.

The award, which was accepted by Ernesto Ciorra, Enel’s Head of Innovability (Innovation and Sustainability – ed), was for “having promoted and implemented countless initiatives aimed at developing an internal culture constantly open to innovation and the receipt of ideas, projects and technologies from a broad external ecosystem, rewarding its entrepreneurship and risk and error management as a driving force for the growth of the company and its employees.”

It is an award that goes to “the most important Italian company and one of the most important in the world,” in the words of Assochange President Salvatore Merando, who adds that Enel “has made change one of its cornerstones.” Companies are increasingly required to keep up with the times in order to survive and “often find themselves having to chase change, especially when it comes to digitalisation, because of the tremendous speed at which the world is evolving.”

Not surprisingly perhaps, the most significant data provided by the Observatory refers to Italian companies that have moved forward in 2017 with projects dedicated to digitalisation and technology. This data is second only to that regarding the improvement of the organisational structure.

As Mariano Corso, of the Observatory on Digital Innovation at Milan’s Polytechnic University, pointed out in his speech, “Change generates fear, anxiety, a sense of helplessness, closure, and a rejection of diversity, fuelling bias against whatever is new.” Applying change in a company therefore means overcoming organisational, as well as psychological and cultural obstacles.

According to Merando, Enel “is a great example of change, a company that has been able to rewrite its DNA.”

Ernesto Ciorra told the audience: “If you don’t change, you die, and we want to live. A company that does not innovate, and does not do so in a sustainable way, dies. And to innovate, you need to make use of the best talents. They are invariably outside the company. As outsiders, they aren’t burdened by the influence of the rules prevailing within that company, and this can lead them to devise something extraordinarily creative. This would never happen in the case of people working inside a company. And that explains our 130 global partnerships with companies from every sector and country, collaborations with startups and NGOs from all over the world, the global network of Innovation Hubs to attract talent, the Open Innovability crowdsourcing platform through which anyone can propose innovation projects.”

Because in the digital world, as Ciorra concluded, we are all migrants: only the younger generations, the digital natives, can help us to innovate.

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