Why working with startups ‘breathes a new business ethos’
Austrian utility Wien Energie is an enthusiastic advocate of collaborating with startup companies.
The company is finding that working with startups is bringing about a refreshing change of mindset at its Vienna headquarters.
“We can see a big shift in the cultural mindset of the organisation and this is exactly what we wish to foster,” says Peter Goenitzer, General Manager of Wien Energie. “We want an open innovation culture, where one is open to change, and to develop the organisation in a collaborative and innovative way. You cannot simply buy innovation – it is something that is being implemented throughout the organisation by the people that work and drive the business.”
Goenitzer was a judge for the Accelerate to Initiate! programme at European Utility Week in Vienna last year and also presented a keynote stating the importance of fostering innovation through startup collaboration.
Wien Energie was matched to five of the 50 Initiate! startups and finally selected as its winner the team from Utrecht-based With The Grid, which offers cutting-edge asset optimisation and maintenance solutions.
“They complement Wien Energie’s business objectives really well, and we are happy to continue the ongoing conversations of running a pilot with the team”, says Goenitzer.
Goenitzer is responsible for Customer Services, IT, Financials and Legal, as well as HR and Organization, and is spearheading the transition of the company from a traditional utility to one that is customer-driven. As such, he has a strong focus on innovation and technology and connects and incubates startups.
He says startups “offer the business more speed and agility and open the organisation to a more entrepreneurial mindset and innovation culture – we corporate with the startups and learn from them. We learn, adapt and breathe a new business ethos.”
Goenitzer says that the EUW 2018 Initiate! programme was "a perfect add-on” to the innovation programmes he has within Wien Energie: “it is another element to complement the business objectives in orchestrating a new future for Wien Energie.”