sumption in the home,” says Miguel Ángel López Peña, director of innovation and development.
Armed with this real-world data, SATEC can better initiate product-focused projects.
This kind of learning project offers lower risk and can give project sponsors the background
information they need to green-light the capital projects it later inspires.
“It takes a lot of vision and leadership to do this,” Mr. Townson says. “If people can see the
risk and the value in a way that they can interpret and make investment decisions, that’s really
Adapt to the Environment
Being the first to try a new approach or technology comes with risks, but if organizations want to remain relevant in a changing energy landscape, they must innovate,
Mr. López Peña says.
“The energy sector is addressing many new challenges, such as new sources
of energy, changes in the mix of renewable and traditional sources, new user
requirements to save energy and targets to reduce carbon dioxide emis-
sions,” he says. “Innovation-based research and development is essential to
address these new challenges.”
Incorporating innovation into the production portfolio requires strong
inter-team communication practices. This helps ensure that learning proj-
ects support business objectives and that innovation makes its way into
ongoing initiatives, Mr. López Peña says.
“I try to involve innovation staff in production projects and production
staff in innovation projects, and this facilitates the quick transfer of innovation results to the market,” he says.
For project practitioners, the highly integrated nature of emerging energy
initiatives means they must be versed in the technologies they have to coordinate, Mr. López Peña says. “A project manager must have flexibility, an integration view, negotiation capabilities and technical experience to succeed in this
Learn From the Past
To flourish in the next energy evolution, business leaders should look to organizations that
survived major energy shifts in the past, Mr. Rifkin says.
When the CEO of Siemens, a global engineering and electronics conglomerate, asked Mr.
Rifkin to help the company transition into the new energy age, he pointed to the organization’s
past. During the first industrial revolution, Siemens made its name manufacturing telegraph
equipment. With the arrival of the oil era, the company transitioned to second industrial revolution technologies. For over 40 years, Siemens managed two portfolios at once.
“What I said to Siemens is, you have to be in two portfolios again,” Mr. Rifkin says. “Continue
your centralized, vertically integrated operations, but put in a second, distributed business
model so that you can move quickly to make the transition to the new era in history.”
Dr. Heck agrees with that assessment: “We’re in the midst of a portfolio shift,” he says. “This
type of shift has frequently stranded some assets from people who were not quick enough to
adjust to the new environment. If you’re late in adjusting, a lot of your projects can turn out to
have very poor economics.” PM
as new sources of
energy, changes in
the mix of renewable
sources, new user
requirements to save
energy and targets to
reduce carbon dioxide
—Miguel Ángel López Peña, SATEC,