The online crowdsourcing platform “openinnovability.com” is a digital space where dialogue is always open and ideas know no limits. In 2018, the platform had over 17,500 users, and can rely on the relaunch of challenges even on third platforms that reached about 400,000 solvers: 27 innovation and sustainability challenges were launched and about 250 proposals were received from Enel people (+7% compared to 2017) and almost 600 from external users (+69% compared to 2017).
Identifying a need, launching a challenge, sharing it externally, evaluating the received proposals and, finally, rewarding the best ones, even financially. These are the five steps set out by the crowdsourcing process. The challenges are inspired by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to allow greater access to energy and open up to new technologies and new business needs, inspired by the Open Power vision. The following are some of the challenges launched over the last year:
- “Hands-free charging for Electric Vehicles” refers to solutions to make recharging vehicles simpler, shorter and more convenient in a “handsfree” mode;
- A solution to reduce range anxiety in Electric Vehicles” aims to find creative technological solutions that make recharging infrastructures increasingly accessible and within reach, to learn about their geographic location in advance and, as a result, reduce anxiety for drivers of electric cars;
- recycling and re-use of wind turbine blades (SDG 11, 12, 13). The average operating life of wind turbines is around 20 years. The metal parts of the turbines are easy enough to recycle and re-use, while the small non-metallic portion of the components, or wind turbine blades, present some difficulties. These are mainly composite materials, in addition to some other minor components/materials, making this task particularly challenging. As the first generations of wind turbine technologies approach the end of their life cycle and must be dismantled, Enel Green Power is looking for the best methods available to recycle and/or re-use wind turbine materials, in order to be increasingly sustainable, with a view to the circular economy;
- augmented reality initiatives dedicated to customers. 56 ideas were collected from 17 countries, and a special internal commission analyzed the business models that were submitted and selected the best proposals in terms of innovation, feasibility and potential. Both winning ideas have a focus on efficient and conscious consumption management, offering consumers tools to increase awareness and management of their current consumption, including integration with IoT technology (the first idea), and offering proactive guidance for consumers for energy efficiency (the second one).