Innovation and sustainability, three new challenges on Open Innovability
Published on Wednesday, 23 May 2018
Innovation is the spark that drives the energy sector; its combination with environmental sustainability has given rise to a term that links the two concepts together and provides the fuel for successful projects Open Innovability – born of the union of Innovation and Sustainability – is an online crowdsourcing platform on which dialogue is always open and ideas know no limits. Ideas, in fact, are at the heart of the challenges launched on the website through the “calls”, collections of proposals and out-of-the-box propositions from participants with different fields of expertise; this diversity boosts the scope for discussion and maximises the potential for scouting.
The “challenge continues” also on InnoCentive, another crowdsourcing platform which amplifies the sharing potential of the Enel Group digital hub dedicated to seeking out innovative and sustainable solutions. Three calls for ideas – focusing on e-Home, e-Mobility and e-City – will be posted simultaneously on both the Open Innovability and InnoCentive platforms with the aim of gathering the greatest number of creative proposals, ideas and projects capable of growing into businesses of the future.
The first challenge, launched in collaboration with Ferrovie dello Stato (the Italian State Railways), is aimed at partners interested in developing an app to help travellers with everything from simplifying ticket purchases to instructions on getting around once they arrive at their destination. An intelligent virtual travel assistant with cognitive and predictive capabilities, which can plan departures, help out when unforeseen circumstances arise, suggest ancillary services and guide the user to his/her destination once they have left the station. A tool to revolutionise the whole concept of mobility and also extend to situations, such as delays or cancellations, in which travellers normally have to rethink all their travel options on their own. A complete package in other words that helps citizens in real time and provides solutions tailored to whatever is happening in the moment. Very definitely a major challenge but also one that will stimulate a change of perspective and perception in the search for that innovative spark that fires the flame of a successful idea.
The second call centres around new generation lamp-posts, a smart infrastructure that does not stop merely at lighting streets but also delivers ancillary services such as video surveillance, sensor readings and Wi-Fi connectivity. The goal of this challenge is to attract proposals for innovative services to be installed on lamp-posts in order to benefit both citizens and municipalities. This is not merely a technical call but is also intended as a challenge to stimulate the design of services based on a sustainable business model which itself will improve citizens’ quality of life. We are all already familiar with smart lamp-poststhat offer efficient lighting, road safety monitoring, air quality readings and urban internet services that people can connect to. But the question now is what else can be added to these services using IoT solutions?
The third challenge relates to the home and energy efficiency in the domestic environment. The solutions on the market at present already provide customers with detailed information on their energy consumption. But the challenge in this particular call is to identify innovative ways of using this data that will also involve the customer in an energy awareness-focused journey towards sustainable domestic management. This is a call to produce radical ideas that will not only provide customers with reliable information but also have the appeal of something entirely new that in turn will encourage consumers to take a consistent interest in saving and environmental sustainability. This call for ideas is essentially asking problem solvers to come up with new functions that will be activated through consumption monitoring using interactive features, such as “gamification” to entertain customers and give them an active role in the service itself.
While it is true that sustainable innovation is the spark that ignites the creative fire that forges brilliant ideas, sharing and interaction through crowdsourcing platforms are the wind that fans the flames of digital creativity.
Because change is only smart if we effect it together.