Startups, an innovation lever at ENGIE to embrace tomorrow’s energy world
The energy sector is undergoing a complete revolution, with the ever-growing demand for renewable energy and the decentralization of production. All this goes with a digital wave that is disrupting all our businesses. At ENGIE, we sensed a need for a very ambitious innovation strategy, and we explore since then different ways of working and collaborating with start-ups, as intrapreneurship or internal incubation, extrapreneurship, partnerships, venturing investment…
Energy Management has recently crystalized two of these approaches: intrapreneurship, which is about empowering employees to think and act entrepreneurially within the organization -the process is to encourage employees to think, dream, act and create within their work environment as if they were entrepreneurs themselves-, and partnerships with technological gems.
TEO (The Energy Origin) is a successful example of intrapreneurship within ENGIE. The innovative startup of the Group uses the impregnable technology of Blockchain to monitor and guarantee renewable energy sources for its clients. Thanks to TEO, clients can choose the energy source suitable to their needs, whether solar or wind power, and identify the site that will produce this energy, from among ENGIE's portfolio of renewable assets, in order to favor local supply, as close as possible to their sites.
Recently, another partnership was achieved: the deployment of Upstream Tech’s HydroForecast™’s solution within ENGIE to optimize hydroelectric power plants in Portugal, recently acquired together with ENGIE's partners, Crédit Agricole Assurances and Mirova, under the Movhera brand. Adopted to bring our energy management solutions to the next level, HydroForecast™ is an end-to-end modeling and decision support service that combines physical theory with AI and satellite imagery to provide accurate and reliable hydrological forecasts anywhere on Earth. These forecasts contain the future expected conditions of surface water flows, such as how much water will flow into a lake over the next 10 days, enabling hydropower asset owners to more effectively plan operations.
With its extensive experience with startups, ENGIE can elaborate a few rules to encourage these very promising partners to grow. First, we must avoid imposing too much corporate processes on these startups for them to gain autonomy and develop themselves, then have benevolence and tolerance on failures, and finally establish objectives and remain demanding on timing and deliverables. And finally, the success key to all this is obviously to have a strong sponsorship at the management level, which allows the teams to nurture their own identity and ways of working.