“For some, innovation is synonymous with revolution. For us this is not the case, it simply means evolution: something that we must understand and pursue as quickly as possible. We want to keep pace with the evolution of technology that is taking place in the world and, if possible, anticipate it, identifying problems in advance and finding their solutions,” said Francesco Starace, CEO and General Manager of Enel.

"The Innovation Hubs serve precisely this purpose,” continued Starace. “We identify the problems that we want to solve in order to achieve our business targets, from energy efficiency to smart grids, from the Internet of Things to renewables, in an increasingly effective way. If we find someone that demonstrates that they are capable of doing this, we help bring financing to  the development of their idea – while contributing with our know-how – in order to help apply the concept on an industrial scale.” 

In other words, a fully-fledged partnership generating benefits for both parties, just like the agreements that our group has signed with 80 startups since 2016. Russian Deputy Minister for Energy Alexey Teksler, as he cut the red ribbon alongside Starace to officially open the Innovation Hub, announced, “We very much appreciate that with this initiative Enel is confirming its interest in the Russian market and its commitment to our country.”

Since innovation moves quickly and keeping pace means also backing up talk with action, on 18 October, a few hours after cutting the ribbon, our Innovation Hub in Skolkovo held its first boot camp. The representatives of ten start-ups, selected in advance from a shortlist of 100, presented their innovative ideas in the field of Infrastructure and Networks. This is just the beginning of a series of similar events, each dedicated to innovation in a particular sector, planned for the months ahead. Coming next is renewable energy, because seeking out innovation means also finding brand new formulas of sustainability and exploring new approaches in order that we can pass on a better planet to the generations to come. One hundred years have passed but the future is still to be written.