Articles & Case Studies by Industry

Energy & Utilities

How GE Fuse is Prototyping New Solutions, with Help from an Online Community

“The concept [of Fuse] is around sourcing different problems from GE customers and then working with an online community to solve those problems,” says Amelia Gandara, the Community Leader for GE Fuse. Here’s how they do it…

Creating an environment for innovators at India’s $43 billion Reliance Industries

“Some organizations think that putting processes of innovation in place will ensure a culture of innovation,” says Sushil Borde, VP of Innovation at Reliance. “But they don’t focus on creating the environment or fostering innovative talent, and that’s where they fail.” We spoke with Borde to learn more about how the company is working to institutionalize innovation, the innovation programs he’s helped to create, and the five tenets that guide innovation at Reliance.

How NRG Energy’s portable power kiosks made it from concept to the Super Bowl

NRG Go’s automated kiosks rent out fully-charged battery packs at places like nightclubs, concert venues, and shopping malls so that people can recharge their phones and tablets — without hunting for an outlet and plopping down next to it for an hour or so. Senior Manager Stacey Butler discusses how the kiosks went from concept to launch in less than 18 months.

How ExxonMobil IT started a grassroots innovation program that’s changing company culture

Christopher Bailey, #innovation catalyst and IT leader at ExxonMobil, discusses the challenges of operationally-focused innovation and details how ExxonMobil has promoted innovation from the ground up through the #innovation initiative and their Grassroots Innovation Forum. Includes 30 minutes of audio.

Audio: Shell and Thales execs on setting up innovation outposts, gauging impact

Executives from Shell TechWorks and the Thales xPlor initiative joined Innovation Leader editor Scott Kirsner earlier this year to talk about what they hope to accomplish with the innovation labs they’ve set up in the Boston area, and how they’re being measured. Here’s the audio and slides.

Treating projects like startups and keeping senior leaders in the loop at Johnson Controls

New projects at the company pass through three stage-gates: pursuit, realization, and commercialization. Johnson Controls’ Chief Marketing Officer and Vice President for Global Innovation explain how projects are funded, and how they work with senior leadership to make decisions about their fate.

At Shell’s fast-growing TechWorks lab, it’s ‘all about deploying’

We talk to the director of Shell TechWorks about the lab’s projects, its funding, and its mission — finding cheaper, faster, and safer ways to drill for oil and gas, and to take advantage of future energy sources.

Ten lessons from ExxonMobil on spurring operationally-focused innovation

The innovation team at ExxonMobil provides a first-ever look at their Grassroots Innovation Forum, focused on sourcing and testing operational innovations, including missteps they encountered and lessons your company might want to consider. Includes internal screenshots and presentation.

How Elon Musk builds organizations that can achieve anything

We talk to Ashlee Vance, author of a new book about Musk, about how the founder of SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity hires people, battles bureaucracy, and dispatches problems fast.

AECOM shares an innovation video it uses with new hires

How do you get new hires to contribute to a culture of innovation from Day One? Warwick Absolon of industrial giant AECOM shares a video the $8.2 billion company produced as part of orientation for new employees in its Australia and New Zealand division.

VC the GE way; lessons from the firm’s upgraded strategy

GE chief executive Jeff Immelt called a meeting in 2012 to rethink the company’s investing strategy. The result was the creation of a new GE Ventures team headquartered in Silicon Valley that builds on past experiences — and mistakes. Managing director Noah Lewis explains what changed.

Lessons from Reliant on setting goals, tracking progress

Director of Innovation Scott Burns takes us inside the annual goal-setting process at Reliant Energy, part of the $8.4 billion electricity giant NRG Energy Inc. According to Burns, setting goals is only half the equation: tracking progress is actually more critical. “Innovation teams often get a reputation for being ‘free thinkers’ that are in a lab trying to invent things in a vacuum and will bring these products to market eventually,” he says. Details inside.

Monitoring power usage with a countertop display

Ambient Devices’ Energy Joule frees information from the PC or the mobile device, and puts it in a prominent new place. Its goal is to change the way you use electricity — and potentially also your relationship with the utility that provides it.