Enel and Innocentive join forces through open innovation on path to achieve United Nations sustainable development goals

Published on Wednesday, 16 May 2018

  • The two players will identify 50 technological challenges to be solved through InnoCentive’s network of over 380,000 problem solvers, with the final aim to boost Enel’s achievement of SDGs


San Francisco, May 15th, 2018 – Ernesto Ciorra, Enel Group’s Head of Innovation and Sustainability (Innovability), and Craig Jones, Executive Chairman of InnoCentive, a leading open innovation and crowdsourcing company, signed an agreement with the main objective of supporting the achievement of Enel’s targets set for four of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): SDG 4 (quality education), SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy), SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth) and SDG 13 (climate action).

Under the agreement, InnoCentive and Enel will identify 50 technology-related challenges that can help the Group deliver operational efficiency and industrial growth as well as create shared value for Enel and its stakeholders, with the final aim to support Enel in its achievement of SDGs. Once the challenges are identified InnoCentive, in line with its “Challenge Driven Innovation” methodology, will launch a call to action to its network of over 380,000 problem solvers from the corporate, research, academic and start-up worlds to propose solutions to those challenges.

Through this partnership, we are reaffirming our practice of embracing ‘innovability’, bringing together innovation and sustainability, to address technological challenges whose solutions are expected to create value for Enel while tackling some of the world’s major issues, reflected in the four SDGs we are committed to. This is yet another example of the intrinsic relationship between innovation, sustainability and value creation, for us and our stakeholders. We cannot create value for ourselves if we do not create sound economic and social conditions for our stakeholders, but if we want to create this shared value we must innovate, and we cannot innovate if we are not open to input from the world around us. This is the virtuous circle at the foundation of Enel’s approach and perfectly embodied in the partnership with InnoCentive,” said Ernesto Ciorra, Enel’s Head of Innovability.

The agreement, which is set to run through 2021, was signed during the ninth edition of #EnelFocusOn in San Francisco, a livestream event titled “Open Innovability for a better world” attended by international influencers. The challenges will be cross-posted on both InnoCentive and Enel’s “Open Innovability” crowdsourcing portal (www.OpenInnovability.enel.com) where all the solutions will be collected. Enel will award the best solutions to each challenge with prizes ranging from monetary rewards to partnerships, following thorough expert evaluation.

We are proud to partner with Enel, a company that places innovation and sustainability at the core of its business, and we praise their commitment to achieving four of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Their organization is a perfect partner for InnoCentive and the issues they seek to address are ideal for our Challenge Driven Innovation methodology,” stated Craig Jones, InnoCentive’s Executive Chairman. “The Challenges we will design with Enel are in line with their strategic approach and create inspiring and rewarding opportunities for our Solver network. We’re honored Enel has chosen to partner with InnoCentive for their open innovation initiatives and we look forward to developing solutions with them for years to come.”

In 2017, the Enel Group made significant progress towards the achievement of the four UN SDGs it is committed to, namely 600,000 beneficiaries under SDG 4; 1.7 million beneficiaries under SDG 7 in Africa, Asia and Latin America; 1.5 million beneficiaries under SDG 8 and CO2 emissions equal to 400 g/kWheq[1] under SDG 13. Enel has committed to achieve, by 2020, 800,000 beneficiaries under SDG 4; 3 million beneficiaries mainly in Africa, Asia and Latin America, under SDG 7; 3 million beneficiaries under SDG 8 and CO2 emissions lower than 350gCO2/kWheq under SDG 13.

The partnership with InnoCentive, is a prime example of Enel’s “Open Innovability” model, which relies on the contribution of qualified external sources from start-ups, to the corporate, research and academic worlds, to achieve sustainable innovation with the ultimate goal to create tangible, shared economic and social value for Enel and its stakeholders. The Enel Group has been partnering with InnoCentive on the resolution of various technological challenges since 2015.

Enel is a multinational power company and a leading integrated player in the global power, gas and renewables markets. It is Europe’s largest utility in terms of market capitalisation and figures among Europe’s leading power companies in terms of installed capacity and reported EBITDA. The Group is present in over 30 countries worldwide, producing energy with around 88 GW of managed capacity. Enel distributes electricity and gas through a network of over 2 million kilometres, and with over 65 million business and household customers globally, the Group has the largest customer base among European competitors. Enel’s renewables arm Enel Green Power already manages around 41 GW of wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and hydropower plants in Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia and Australia.

InnoCentive is a leading open innovation and crowdsourcing company that partners with Fortune 1000 companies, government entities, and non-profit organizations to develop solutions to their business, scientific, and technical issues. InnoCentive has a long history of energy related challenges on behalf of many governmental and non-profit organizations. Since its inception in 2001, InnoCentive has leveraged its Challenge Driven Innovation methodology and purpose-built platform to crowdsource solutions on over 2,300 external Challenges from a global network of 400,000 problem solvers that spans nearly 200 countries. InnoCentive’s full-service CDI solution includes consulting, challenge design, training, and program management services to help organizations cultivate solutions both externally and from within.


[1] Including production from both owned and managed power plants.