They’re not afraid to call themselves Visionari - Visionaries. And they are very clear about their mission: to use science and technology to improve people’s lives.
An innovation idea very similar to Enel’s. We too are convinced that innovation and sustainability are two sides of the same coin: one simply doesn’t make sense without the other. We call it innovability (innovation + sustainability) and it informs and guides our approach.
That is why we hosted “Shaping Visionaries,” the first national meeting of the not-for-profit Visionari association. On 18 and 19 June, we got together with the Visionari to share ideas and experiences through interactive workshops and presentations.
“Enel is doing what we want to do – it is creating innovation on a world level,” explained Federico Pistono, Founder and Chairman of Visionari. “We have put innovation at the centre of our strategy and our actions,” confirmed Carlo Tamburi, Head of Country Italy at Enel. For Pistono, it is largely a question of mentality: we need to move from “can’t do” or “who knows if we can do” mode to an “I am doing it” mindset, citing the hand prosthesis that can be moved using thought and the supersonic car as two inspiring examples.
Some of the Visionari present revealed how they are making their own dreams come true: Davide Venturelli explained how quantum computers will revolutionise information technology, while Alessandro Trocchio described the new frontier for organ transplantation. “These are the people changing the world,” commented Pistono.
Enel is on the same page. “When we are told that something is impossible, we try to do it anyway,” confirmed Ernesto Ciorra, Chief Innovability Officer at Enel who also spoke about the idea of “driving the energy transition in a sustainable way towards a world in which energy is accessible for all.” That dream may seem impossible with three billion people across the globe living either without electricity or without a regular supply, right now. However, it is a goal we are continuing to pursue whilst keeping environmental and social sustainability as our lodestar.
To be able to genuinely innovate, continued Ciorra, we also need to look at emerging ideas from the outside, a principle we turned into our Open Innovation model from which we also began our work to support startups. This led to our launching projects previously deemed impossible, with the most promising candidates. Ciorra described some of the most significant – a list that ranged from airbag jackets to protect our technicians working in the field to an audio/video conversion system for hearing-impaired customers at our call centres. There are also drones that monitor security at our Torrevaldaliga power station and the V2G (Vehicle-to-Grid) system we developed in Denmark to allow e-cars to feed excess power into the grid, essentially turning them into mobile batteries. Other cases in point include a hydrogen electrical energy storage system in Cerro Pabellón, Chile and a hybrid power station which combines geothermal, photovoltaic and thermodynamic solar power at Stillwater in Nevada.
These are just a few examples but they demonstrate that, just like the Visionari, we too are part of the movement to use science and technology to make the world a better place.