Media statement - 25 May 2011
Eskom shares challenges in quest for innovation
Tuesday, 24 May: Eskom is challenging people to come up with innovative ideas regarding energy efficiency, the effective use of water in energy generation and the early detection of falling power lines. This initiative will strive to prove the value of innovation and is part of a new project designed to promote open innovation.
Eskom is collaborating with RIIS (Research Institute for Innovation and Sustainability), a local innovation management company, and NineSigma, a company that facilitates solving of challenges, through an online global innovation community, on a number of Open Innovation projects that will connect Eskom‟s internal research and development teams with leading innovators from around the world.
NineSigma and its local representative, RIIS, will work with Eskom to identify current innovation needs, and then develop open innovation requests that will be shared with scientists, engineers, designers and inventors from around the world and locally. Results will then be assessed in order to potentially engage new partners in innovation development.
Eskom‟s Innovation Circuit Manager, Kammy Dhaver, says that Eskom will be able to leverage on NineSigma‟s global Open Innovation network of more than 2 million solvers as well as benchmark the establishment of a local energy innovation ecosystem on best practices and Open Innovation competencies developed over years.
“By embracing inspiration and creativity both internally within Eskom and from outside the organisation, we accelerate the discovery and implementation of innovative solutions,” Dhaver said.
While Eskom has always striven to make use of the kind of expertise that is not available in-house, the concept of Open Innovation explores these possibilities on a much larger scale.
This collaboration aims to establish a local „co-innovating‟ network of collaborating stakeholders who benefit from potential solutions but also explores the opportunities presented by sharing global energy challenges and needs.
Barry MacColl, acting General Manager of Eskom Research & Development says: “People and companies all over the world are more connected, more collaborative and more open with regards to the sharing of ideas to common problems than ever before. Tapping into the knowledge of a global citizenship will accelerate the innovation cycle and help us find the missing pieces of the puzzle that much quicker. It is a key strategy in Eskom's quest to meet the energy challenges we all face.”
This „open‟ engagement with potential partners therefore goes beyond contracting or procuring goods and services from third party suppliers. It entails sharing Eskom‟s challenges, needs and associated future requirements with external parties, and encouraging them to provide value adding solutions.
“We are pleased to be working with Eskom” says Skip Davis, Vice President at NineSigma. “Eskom‟s open innovation program demonstrates their continuing commitment to their vision of empowering South Africa, its people and the economy.”
A pilot project will see the launching of a dedicated web site and the following four challenges. All four challenges will be launched locally (within South Africa) while the last three will also be launched globally. The website, www.openinnovation.eskom.co.za, is scheduled to go live on 1 June.
Challenge 1: 10% Reduction in Residential Energy Consumption
Eskom invites proposals for smart technologies that will reduce domestic energy consumption by 700 MW permanently.
Challenge 2: Proactive Detection of Fallen Electrical (Power Line) Conductors
Eskom invites proposals for technologies that will provide early detection of sagging, slipping, or fallen overhead conductors used for electricity distribution and delivery.
Challenge 3: Seeking Experts for Peer Review of Sustainability Footprint Methodology to measure Social, Environmental and Economic impacts of an Electric Utility on Society
Eskom seeks experts to participate in peer review of modeling and methodologies that consider the social, environmental, and economic impact of power generation and delivery systems. The peer review will only be initiated once the report has been released.
Challenge 4: Seeking Expertise and Systems for Integrated Water and Waste Management
Eskom seeks consultants and/or technology to address improved water utilization and management for industrial processes.
Potential solvers will be able to access detailed information and the specific requirements for each challenge via http://www.openinnovation.eskom.co.za.
Submissions also take place via the web site.
Deadline for submissions are between four and eight weeks depending on the nature of the challenge after which all responses will be assessed and evaluated in order to determine possible future engagements.
Eskom generates approximately 95% of the electricity used in South Africa and approximately 45% of the electricity used in Africa. Eskom generates, transmits and distributes electricity to industrial, mining, commercial, agricultural and residential customers and redistributors. The majority of sales are in South Africa. Other countries of southern Africa account for a small percentage of sales. Additional power stations and major power lines are being built to meet rising electricity demand in South Africa.
NineSigma helps Global 1000 companies and other innovation-driven entities Engage with the global innovation community and Enable their organizations to more effectively adopt external knowledge and resources. Companies such as Kraft, Philips, L‟Oreal, Unilever, Denso and Suntory utilize NineSigma‟s open innovation services to solve immediate challenges, fill product pipelines and integrate new knowledge and capabilities into their organizations. NineSigma has the largest open global network of solution providers and an extensive database of existing solutions that spans all industries and technical disciplines. The company has operations in the United States, Europe and Asia. Learn more about NineSigma at http://www.ninesigma.com/ .
About RIIS (Research Institute for Innovation and Sustainability)
The Research Institute for Innovation and Sustainability offers a total business solution for sustaining and managing innovation in the working environment, including both the private and public sectors. RIIS provides guidance and practical insight and assists with planning and managing an uncertain future. RIIS helps organisations prepare for a new future by addressing not only strategy, processes, systems and structures, but also culture, implementation, measurement, benchmarking and research. Learn more about RIIS at http://www.riis.co.za .