Enel operates by means of an Open Innovability model in which the solutions, apart from being innovative, guarantee long-term sustainability both for the business and for communities, creating shared and shareable value. An ecosystem based on openness and sharing that makes it possible to connect all company areas with startups, industrial partners, small and medium-sized enterprises, research centres, universities and solver ecosystems, by means of various tools such as crowdsourcing platforms (openinnovability.com) and the Innovation Hubs network. To date, there are 83 innovation partnership agreements in place, of which 6 new agreements both global and horizontal within the Group signed in 2019, in addition to the relaunch of existing collaborations to facilitate access to credit by the startups and small and medium-sized enterprises operating in the Enel ecosystem. The partnerships make it possible to develop new solutions for electric mobility, microgrids, energy efficiency, the industrial IoT, and circular economy solutions, in addition to traditional areas of action such as renewables and conventional generation. Furthermore, a process of collaboration with the aerospace sector was launched in 2019, focused on the use of satellite technology for surveillance of power grids to prevent network losses and energy theft, and to promote cyber security. Over the past year Enel has opened 1 new Hub in Boston, consolidating its presence in the world’s leading innovation ecosystems with 10 Innovation Hubs (Silicon Valley, Boston, Tel Aviv, Madrid, Moscow, Santiago, Rio de Janeiro, Milan, Pisa and Catania) and 5 Innovation Labs (Milan, Pisa Catania, Haifa and São Paulo).
The Group also further extended its areas of collaboration with startups, providing access to all 20 of the Group’s laboratories specialising in the main areas of technological development, including smart grids, renewables, and digitalization, with the aim of promoting direct liaisons between Business Lines and startups. Thanks to its capillary presence in innovation ecosystems and the organisation of more than 25 bootcamps – scouting initiatives dedicated to specific technologies of interest to the Group, in 2019 Enel established contact with some 2,500 startups and launched more than 60 new collaborations. Projects started in 2019 include collaboration with a Catania-based startup engaged in building an automated platform for the remote control of photovoltaic plants. In addition, a network of partners has been created to help startups and small and medium-sized enterprises working with the Group to grow, gaining access to capital and industrialising their solutions to streamline wide-sale dissemination.
In conformity with statutory legislation and Enel’s compliance programs, innovation activities are managed by the Innovability (Innovation and Sustainability) Function in liaison with the Holding Functions and Business Lines in all the Group’s operating countries. Dedicated facilities on the Business Lines level have been set up to facilitate the development and dissemination of innovative solutions. A three-year innovation plan is drafted annually, in line with and supporting the Group’s strategic priorities. The plan is subject to approval of the Group Innovation Committee, which is chaired by the Chief Executive Officer, and shared with top management. The innovation priorities for the period 2020-2022 are connected to the Group’s strategic pillars and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, and they concern: digitalization of customer relations (apps for customers, chatbots on social networks, virtual assistants), digital payments and digital extended payment plans (“Everywhere commerce”), “Voice of customer” for continual improvement, circular economy and bill discounts, inclusive offers for senior, disadvantaged, low income, and vulnerable customers, alongside a paperless system and innovative and inclusive digital services, responsible consumption, and flexible offers thanks to the use of the new Open Meters. The innovation process is monitored through the use of specific indicators.