"If you want to go fast, walk alone. If you want to go far, go with someone else.” This ancient proverb is perfect for describing Open Innovation. For some years large corporations have understood that working together with other enterprises and startups could add value to their business and open the door to new ideas. Indeed, Innovability®, which has become a mantra for Enel, combines a belief in Open Innovation and sustainability, which is another inherent characteristic of today's developments.
Collaboration has become even more crucial during the Coronavirus crisis. Is it possible to pursue Innovability® by going solo? Ernesto Ciorra, Chief Innovability® Officer, believes that, when it comes to embarking on new ventures, going solo is not an option.
A new adventure has begun for two exciting innovation companies. The global innovation firm Opinno, which has its headquarters in Madrid, has acquired the Italian innovation consultancy Tree. Both of these growing organisations work closely with Enel, and last week Ciorra attended the digital event, “Leading Tomorrow, innovare e investire in Italia” (Innovating and Investing in Italy), where the details of the deal were presented.
"Innovation serves sustainability and social change, and our main objective is to bring them about. If Europe doesn’t innovate, it will die,” Ciorra said. As an example, he mentioned the story of Enel: "Enel Green Power was a small startup in 2009 with a focus on renewable energies. Today, it's one of the world’s biggest renewable energy providers.” He also discussed some sustainable trends in energy, such as the decarbonisation of hydrogen, which has “enormous potential” as a renewable energy source.
Italy, where innovation flourishes
Opinno’s relationship with Italy goes back several years through collaborations with other companies, but now it is consolidating its presence there. "We are very excited to begin this journey in a country that is a leader in innovation and design, with an amazing tradition of entrepreneurship, in addition to being one of the world's great economic powers,” said Pedro Moneo, Opinno’s CEO and founder. With more than 250 employees, it is a leading innovation consultancy firm. It specialises in the design of innovation and digital strategies, cultural transformation and new ways of working, and Open Innovation strategies.
During the event, Moneo added that this operation will bring together the skills and talent of Opinno and Tree, with projects "that are significant in primary sectors of the European economy.” With its arrival in Italy through Tree, Opinno will now have projects in over 20 countries with a turnover in excess of 16 million euro, with several Fortune 500 companies on its client list. Moneo and Tommaso Canonici, Founding Partner & Managing Director of Opinno, also agreed with Ciorra's view that, now more than ever, the future must be sustainable: “This new age comes with a new mandate of responsibility and sustainability which we believe will become a trend.”
In Italy, Tree has acquired a name for itself as a specialist in Open Innovation, the construction of ecosystems and digital education. It had a turnover of 1.9 million euro in 2019, and its clients include some of the companies with the highest volume and turnover in Italy, such as Enel. According to Tree’s founder, Antonio Perdichizzi, this operation shows that there is a European form of Open Innovation: "Connecting Tree and Italy to a broad and structured entity like Opinno means helping other Italian companies to innovate and change, preserving and enriching experience, knowledge and excellence.”
A conversation with inspiring Italian voices
During the “Leading Tomorrow” event, which took place virtually on 30 September, experts discussed how to enter and embrace a new market and different innovation methodologies, particularly in light of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Italian Minister of Innovation, Paola Pisano, was also present at the event, and she provided some interesting reflections: "Innovation is the objective, innovation should be systemic, and it is needed to create an environment that supports the startups and where the innovation is incentivised.”
Other speakers included the President of the Finance Commission in the European Parliament, Irene Tinagli, who talked about the role of Europe in the future of the new normal: "I think Europe has all the characteristics and values needed to start rebuilding the new reality, and this has become clear in recent months. We have understood how to unite the continent and how to send out important messages in order to make people feel safe during an emergency.”
Top executives from major companies like ManpowerGroup Italia, Amazon Web Services Italia, Unicredit and Reale Group also took part in the event. They all agreed on the importance of Open Innovation for the future of Italy, Spain and the world. The new collaboration between Opinno and Tree is proof of that.