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EIC & Energy Systems Catapult are excited to announce the launch their latest Innovator Insights Report; a research report carried out to explore the relationship between the EIC’s network partners and third-party innovators. 


Innovation is vital for the UK utilities sector if it is to meet challenging decarbonisation targets outlined in the Government’s net-zero policy. It will require the sector to adapt to new ways of operating, the adoption of new tools and techniques, and the cross-fertilisation of learning and ideas from a range of different sectors. 


To make this happen, utility organisations will need to foster collaborative partnerships with a range of new partners, technology providers, and innovators. Many of these will be small and medium enterprises (SMEs) able to offer niche products and services. 


The Innovator Insights Report looks to uncover what challenges and opportunities exist when it comes to facilitating more meaningful engagements between energy network companies and SMEs, and where further support and guidance can be given by organisations like the EIC and ESC. The overall aim of the report being to strengthen relationships between stakeholders, and ultimately, increase the pace and value of innovation to networks – and importantly – customers. 


The EIC commissioned an independent research consultancy to conduct an SME Engagement Survey which was completed in May 2019. The survey received responses from over 300 innovators from across the globe, sharing their experiences of working with energy network companies (ENCs). 


Denise Massey, Managing Director at the EIC said: 


‘This report is a way for [us] to chart the challenges and opportunities that are faced by those on the front-line of innovation in our sector – ENCs and SME innovators. By having visibility of the issues, we can work with the industry to create robust responses to the challenges so that innovation in our industry continues to not only go on unhindered, but thrives in a time where novel ideas, and ways of doing things could be the difference between the survival or demise of our planet.’


The report is the second Innovator Insight Report to be carried out, with the first being published in 2017.


Paul Jordan, Business Leader, Innovator Support & International at Energy Systems Catapult, said:


‘Since the initial report carried out in 2017, the latest surveys suggest energy network companies feel they have made great strides in improving engagement with SMEs and feel they have a better understanding of the challenges that innovators face. However, many SMEs still see plenty of room for improvement, particularly with procurement processes. With the survey results indicating that the smaller business, often have the largest challenges.’


Read the full report here.


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Achieving net zero targets is one of the biggest challenges facing the energy and utilities industry, but by innovating together we can drive change and deliver a decarbonised future. Our industry partners are always looking for innovative new solutions to the challenges they face, including net zero, which is why we provide a platform where innovators like you can respond to the latest innovation opportunities and challenges, and submit your innovative ideas. Our expert team have an extensive knowledge base, allowing us to consistently help our partners to address challenges, and to support our innovation community. This enables innovators and industry to come together and build a strong innovation culture and streamline innovation processes.