In 2020, we have all needed to be more perseverant, focused, disciplined and patient than ever. These skills go hand-in-hand with innovation. Indeed, innovation is globally changing the way people live, move and interact – as well as the energy they produce. To keep this methodology alive, now more than ever, companies around the world rely on an open mindset to co-create alongside startups and SMEs to develop solutions that can recognize and meet existing needs, especially those that arise in times of crisis. It’s no wonder that these collaborations ultimately result in a win-win for both companies and startups.
The Corporate Startup Stars Awards are a prestigious annual ranking, launched under the European Commission’s Startup Europe Partnership (SEP) initiative in 2016. This year, Mind the Bridge and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) consolidated a partnership to expand the fifth edition at a global level. The virtual event took place last December 15 and aimed to foster company-startup collaborations globally, by showcasing industry success stories. The 50 top corporate companies that act as a role model for Open Innovation were awarded at this event.
At Enel, these collaborations are exactly what allows us to continuously pursue sustainable progress. Thanks to this determination, Enel was not only recognized by being named one of the 25 Corporate Startup Stars, but also received the 2020 Corporate Startup Procurement Award on the grounds of its outstanding relationships with the most innovative startups. We are more than honored and thrilled to have received this award as “this is a very important recognition for us", affirmed Ernesto Ciorra, Chief Innovability® Officer at Enel. As he stated, to succeed with Open Innovation “we must forge relationships that are mutually beneficial and that create shared value for all stakeholders”.
Innovation and sustainability, awarded
The event – hosted by Marco Marinucci, Founder and CEO of Mind the Bridge, and Alberto Onetti, Chairman of Mind the Bridge – provided a stage for leaders in a wide gamut of industries. The awards are meant to spotlight and “celebrate innovation across the world in all of its diverse forms”, recognized Onetti. The two innovation advisory experts were followed by John Denton, Secretary-General of the International Chamber of Commerce. Denton acknowledged that, “while these pioneering companies are playing a leading role in their respective ecosystems, they are also having an impact internationally”.
As the digital event kicked off, the audience was introduced to both organizing companies, followed by a guest appearance from Cedric O, French Minister of State for Digital Transformation and Electronic Communication. “If big corporations want to succeed in their digital transformation, they have to rely both on their internal transformation and on working and collaborating with startups”, stressed O. At Enel, these collaborative processes are exactly what allow us to continuously pursue sustainable progress.
“We are always seeking to expand the search for innovative solutions that can promote sustainable development, and this award is a confirmation of our efforts”, indicated Francesca Di Carlo, Head of Global Procurement at Enel. In the last four years, Enel has carried out more than 320 projects alongside startups, as well as scaled-up more than 60 solutions to lead the energy transition at a global level. Di Carlo emphasized: “In order to get the best results, we are constantly working on the procurement process and will continue to invest in our ability to fast-track solutions, so that those which have been tested successfully can be easily implemented at a larger scale”. Di Carlo’s ideas are shared by Nicola Rossi, Head of Innovation at Enel Green Power, who pointed out “innovation is a way to develop long-lasting sustainable solutions, not only for us and our business, but also for society in general”.
The future with Open Innovability®
Our group’s vision to leverage open power and collaborations – with startups, SMEs, universities and research centers, VCs, partner companies, NGOs and other associations – will enable us to create a new energy era. “We are accelerating the transition towards a fully sustainable business model; this means that now, more than ever, we require new technologies and solutions that support and drive this change”, highlighted Ciorra.
“When shooting for the moon, you can reach a star”, noted Onetti at the event. These stars come in all shapes and forms, and at Enel, our stars are the individuals and companies we work with. As the year comes to a close, this Corporate Startups Stars recognition is a constant reminder that no matter how fast we grow as a company, we cannot have a global impact alone. Our Open Innovability® mindset is, and will always continue to be, a seed we plant across our entire organization to help us drive sustainable change worldwide. As Ciorra concluded, “this award is a recognition of our efforts in this direction”.