In biology, an ecosystem means a set of communities that collaborate among themselves for the survival of all participants in the same environment. In the corporate world, a successful innovation ecosystem is when companies, universities, and governments come together to create a collaborative, innovative environment in which everyone works together and shares common results, thus providing for an intense exchange of experiences. A way to get ahead of your competitors, where experimentation is valued. You can even make mistakes, as they will guide effective innovation.
Attracting the interest of students is another added value to innovation ecosystems. They become real hubs to recruit talents. The cities where these centers are located gain visibility and create many job positions. Integrated ecosystems, more qualified people, and innovative ideas are the major drivers for creating value in the future.
The most well-known innovation ecosystem in the world is Silicon Valley, in California, United States, home to the largest technology companies. Entrepreneurship is rooted in the culture of the region. The 50 most innovative and effective companies of the planet are established in this location.
Home to the giants Facebook, Google, and Apple, among many others, the region also hosts two of the most important universities in the world: Stanford University and the University of California, besides being also home to hundreds of organizations known as unicorns (startups with estimated value over US$ 1 billion).
Another example is Israel: the country has an innovation ecosystem with worldwide recognition. One of the factors for this excellence is the strength that lies in diversity. Its population of 8 million inhabitants is extremely heterogeneous, with people from many different nationalities, all with their multiple cultures and histories.
In Brazil, we have examples of successful innovation ecosystems, as the city of Curitiba. The “Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2020" places the capital of Paraná as the only Brazilian city among the most promising emerging ecosystems of the world.
Porto Digital, in Recife, benefited from the union between the government and the private sector to create companies in the software and call center businesses, that serve the national and international market.
Another innovation hub is in Rio Grande do Sul. Tecnopuc, from the Pontifical Catholic University of the State, is a large science and technology park that houses hundreds of organizations and stimulates an interaction between universities, companies, and public authorities. The city of Campinas has also been giving good examples in this area. The State University of Campinas (Unicamp) has always been at the forefront of education and leadership in the dissemination of an entrepreneurial culture, attracting major companies and researchers that have turned the region into a vigorous hub of innovative projects.
Neoenergia is fully committed with the efforts
to stimulate an environment of collaboration and innovation. Since 2017, when Iberdrola, a Spanish group, global leader of
renewable energies, took control of Neoenergia, initiatives in this sense
started to be implemented, with the creation, in 2018, of the Superintendence for
Innovation and Sustainability (SIS).
In 2019, the idea of a
Neoenergia innovation ecosystem was launched, in the pursuit of an articulation
with a series of partners and specialists in innovation from several areas.
Seeking to stimulate these connections, as a source of value generation, the
company established internal and external partnerships, selecting opportunities
and challenges. All efforts were aimed towards a "corporate innovation
Neoenergia then starts its
Innovation Journey, that begins by understanding the problems. The company's
professionals came to the conclusion that the first thing to do was
classifying, in some way, their opportunities and challenges.
were then implemented, for example, with Porto Digital, in Recife. This union
allowed public buildings in Pernambuco to save energy by means of new, more
efficient lighting systems, air conditioners, and other equipment.
Another successful project
for the company was the "Summer Job", carried out in partnership with
Cesar Institute, a non-profit company and anchor institution at Porto Digital.
The summer program sought to offer a practical experience to students,
identifying talents and encouraging the exchange of knowledge between
educational institutions and private companies.
By the end of 2020, the Neoenergia Lab - a laboratory for the development
of solutions - was also launched. The initiative includes students, trainees,
and scholarship holders of the company, who will explore real challenges, supported
by a staff of mentors from Neoenergia and professors of Cesar Institute, to
ensure the best possible delivery.
This year, the Go In
(Innovation Governance) project will be presented, with the participation of 30
company executives involved with the theme. In October, the group approved the
first corporate innovation thesis, which is the strategy combined with the
business, to provide guidance on what will be the innovation efforts within the
group. Knowing that the future of the electricity industry is changing at a
very high speed and Neoenergia wants to be prepared for the new 3D world:
digitalization, decarbonization, and decentralization.