MENTORS: Sanket Puranik, Farhan Farrukh and Bryan Pellerin from Smart Innovation Norway.


EIT InnoEnergy’s Impact Challenges 2020:

Smart Innovation Norway presents E-LAND business model challenge to innovators of the future

On 27th, 28th and 29th of October, three of Smart Innovation Norway’s researchers will be mentors at EIT InnoEnergy’s yearly event Impact Challenges, where they will challenge young energy students and professionals to find sustainable business models connected to the pilot sites of the E-LAND project.

By Mari Kristine Buckholm, 15 October 2020

“Smart Innovation Norway will participate in Impact Challenges that EIT InnoEnergy holds every year with its students of Master school at ENLIT Europe. Here, organizations can bring a business challenge on a particular problem in sustainable or renewable energy with students working in groups to find creative solutions,” says Farhan Farrukh, Researcher in Smart Energy Technologies at Smart Innovation Norway.

He is also in charge of the Piloting work package in the EU Horizon 2020 E-LAND project, which is at the center of the challenge provided by Smart Innovation Norway: Design of unique business models for low-carbon Communities with Multi-Energy systems of E-LAND project.

Design thinking and creativity

“In E-LAND, Smart Innovation Norway together with partner University of St. Gallen have developed a tool called the Business Model Innovator tool (BMI), which takes into account the various business patterns that are relevant for a particular energy community and then transforms those patterns into actual business models,” explains Farrukh. He adds:

“This tool will be tested with students at EIT InnoEnergy, where they will work on our challenge. The teams will be given one E-LAND pilot site each out of the three in EU, including details on its relevant business patterns, challenges, vision and impact to be achieved. The students will work in a groups of five using information provided for each pilot site and a digital platform with design thinking methodology to deliver creative and innovative business models for each pilot site.

Together with fellow researchers Sanket Puranik and Bryan Pellerin from Smart Innovation Norway and Dr. Merla (small photo) from University of St. Gallen, Farrukh will mentor the students and young professionals in their endeavors to solve the challenge.

“We will be guiding the students on how to use the Business Model Innovator tool and develop business models for each pilot site using design thinking methods. Our partner from the University of St. Gallen, Dr. Merla, will support us in explaining the methodology of the Business model innovator tool and value of connecting and combining business model patterns to actual business cases,” says Farrukh.

Attracting young talent

The main reason why Smart Innovation Norway participates at the event is to get an idea on how the company can use such platforms by EIT InnoEnergy to test various innovations from H2020 projects with young talent in sustainability and the renewable energy sector – and also attract more talent to develop unique innovation in the future.

“It’s imperative that we bring young minds to the same discussion table as the business heads, in order to truly generate the innovations that are needed for a rapid transition to a sustainable energy system. That is what we do at Smart Innovation Norway; we work as a team of very diverse experts, both new graduates and seasoned veterans that help each other in developing truly innovative projects,” emphasizes Pellerin.

About EIT InnoEnergy

EIT InnoEnergy is one of several KICs (Knowledge Innovation Communities) of European Institute of Technology. It is supported by EIT under the guidance of the European Commission. InnoEnergy focuses particularly on accelerating sustainable energy through its four main areas of work.

  1. Innovative solutions (For businesses or corporates)
  2. For Innovators (Researchers / Designers / Entrepreneurs with Innovation in sustainable energy)
  3. For Startups / Scaleups (It provides an accelerator program and funding for startups),
  4. For students & Learners (8 Master programs all in different areas of sustainable energy, Professional learning courses, PhD candidates).

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