Innovation is a core value of our entire ecosystem: a mission to which we are steadfastly committed thanks to our proactive relationships with startup, companies, entrepreneurs and anyone else who wishes to get involved through their contribution and to participate in the search for new technological solutions that can ensure our society’s sustainable and cost-effective development.
However, innovation is not just a driving force that needs fostering and stimulation, but above all it is a valuable asset that needs to be protected, defended and shared. For this reason, intellectual property (IP) plays a crucial role in our Group by allowing us to not only reward and promote the most innovative solutions created in-house or in collaboration with external third parties, but also to safely promote the transmission of ideas, technologies and expertise to our entire network of universities, research centers, suppliers and consultants. In this way, IP becomes a fundamental instrument for the collective progress of the entire industry, making sure that it keeps up to par with our Open Innovability® model.
In this context, the company’s IP Reward program plays a central role in the Group’s processes related to the generation, management and valorization of intellectual property. The program views human capital as an essential element in the creation of IP and aims to incentivize the participation of Enel colleagues in the invention process, making them aware of the strategic importance of inventions. Specifically, each year the Intellectual Property Awards are held to reward employee inventions that stand out for their strategic relevance and consistency with the Group’s sustainability objectives. During the 2022 Intellectual Property Awards, CEO Francesco Starace, President Michele Crisostomo and division heads Ernesto Ciorra, Antonio Cammisecra, Salvatore Bernabei, Elisabetta Ripa, Francesco Venturini and Giulio Fazio presented the awards to inventors.
Sustainability, efficiency, safety: The watchwords of the 2022 Intellectual Property Awards
Maximizing the output of photovoltaic panels while simultaneously limiting the consumption of silver is the goal of the project by Marina Foti, Marcello Sciuto and Alfredo Di Matteo at Enel Green Power and Thermal Generation, inventors of the patent related to the process of metallization of cells and cell connection. The solution is utilized in the 3Sun HJT cell and module production line.
The process exponentially increases the exposed surface of solar cells therefore increasing the production of electricity and was designed to reduce the consumption of the silver base by 10%, resulting in significant across-the-board improvements in cost, performance and environmental sustainability.
Environmental sustainability is also the focus of the patent for the “15 Minute City Index” idea, invented by Sergio Gambacorta for Enel X Global Retail. It is a digital solution, based on open data analysis that aims to encourage the development of human-centric urban models where services and infrastructures are designed to be reachable in 15 minutes on foot or by bike. An instrument whose aim is to promote urban sustainability by decreasing travel and emissions, while simultaneously increasing the quality of life in our cities, enhancing Enel X’s role as a digital partner of public institutions.
Facilitating the transition towards green mobility while emphasizing the decarbonization process is the main goal of the new electric car charging system invented by Tiziano Valentinetti, Eleonora Sammartino and Mauro Palumbo for Global E-Mobility. A mission pursued through the development of a high-power charging station with a built-in storage system, which will enable even more efficient and faster charging to meet the needs of consumers. A solution designed not only to provide an even more efficient and timely service, but also one that can be very easily modified to adapt to any future market evolutions and in this way brings together technological flexibility with commercial flexibility.
Giancarlo Della Porta for Enel Grids devised and developed a new system for delineating road construction sites, an invention dedicated to worker safety. The new model allows for improved management of spaces through a system of telescopic posts designed to facilitate vehicle maneuvering and consequently reduce the risks of accidents and injuries, effectively increasing worksite productivity and even more scrupulously, safeguarding the well-being and health of workers.
Intellectual property as a means for adding value and sharing
Every revolutionary invention starts with a simple intuition.. This is why we continue to use intellectual property to enhance and transform ideas, making them into concrete solutions and tangible business models. We encourage the sharing of new instruments and skills that we hope will facilitate the evolution of the entire sector, while always protecting the ownership rights of the person who conceived the idea and brought it to light.
In fact, as Francesco Starace stated, “There isn’t a contradiction, as it might seem, between the concept of intellectual property and the open innovation approach. Very often we cover the innovations we develop with IP rights, therefore with patents or the equivalent legal protection; precisely to prevent the same innovations being sold to us by others who think they have patented them.”
In short, intellectual property protects innovation but first and foremost it rewards talent and merit. We will never stop encouraging employees and collaborators to submit their ideas to us. In this way we can help them along the path required to identify the most suitable form of patenting and ensure they are in a position to continue to develop their projects in complete safety and freedom.
“Intellectual creation has to do with the focus of human capital on production processes and on finding places for improvement within the production processes,” concludes Michele Crisostomo. “Therefore, actually what is being protected is the work of our people which is valued through the classic tool of protection of intellectual property.”