Combining innovation and sustainability, constantly promoting forms of collaboration between the key players and, most importantly, listening: that is the formula that Enel CEO Francesco Starace has suggested in order to meet the challenges of the future in "Development Matters", the blog that collects the experience and expertise of opinion leaders, politicians, CEOs and representatives of civil society in the field of economic and political development.
Starace stresses the importance of a detachment from the existing corporate culture in order to address the rapid changes, the majority of which are due to digitalization, facing the world's population. Although initially these changes may cause some discomfort, they must be welcomed as further opportunities for growth. Citing the the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals set out in the United Nations 2030 Agenda, Francesco Starace explains that a spirit of co-operation is needed to overcome "one of the biggest and most pressing challenges facing us today". "What single organization is able to effectively tackle any one of these goals on its own?” the group’s CEO wonders, emphasizing that the ability to listen is essential for effective co-operation. Partnership for companies, Starace says, means exploring and making the most of the "indissoluble link between the concepts of innovation and sustainability": innovation is unlikely to be successful unless it is built upon a foundation of sustainability.
A clear example is the Ollagüe Enel project. In this village of three hundred inhabitants at the top of the Andes Mountains on the border between Chile and Bolivia, the group has created a hybrid power system, combining storage, solar and wind energy involving 1538 photovoltaic panels and a small wind turbine. It is an innovative and sustainable off-grid system that ensures the local community constant access to energy. Francesco Starace highlights how the whole project has required the involvement of local authorities, communities and local universities right from the early stages of analysis, design and management. In Ollagüe all of the pillars of the Enel CEO’s vision can be found: listening and co-operation, innovation and sustainability will all be crucial in meeting the challenges that society will face in the coming years. CEOs can succeed in these challenges by helping to create business models that combine competitiveness and commitment; it is the people involved, with their projects, experiences and ideas, that represent the key to unlocking shared value.
Enel editorial staff