Eni’s Giacomo Silvestri shares his passion for innovation and meets the challenges of the Great Energy Transition

GEMBA The Rotman - SDA Bocconi Global Executive MBA


The Rotman - SDA Bocconi Global Executive MBA (GEMBA) students had the unique opportunity to attend a Giacomo Silvestri’s lecture  about the role of innovation in a company on the frontlines of the energy transition.  Giacomo Silvestri is the Executive Chairman of Eniverse Ventures and Eni Group Head of Innovation Ecosystems.


Formerly SDA Bocconi Assistant Professor of Organization and Change Management. Mr. Silvestri gave a talk on “Ambidexterity in Practice: The Eni Experience,” during the fifth session of the GEMBA class on Managing Innovation.


Introduced by Prof. Enzo Baglieri, Mr. Silvestri gave a brief overview of his career trajectory and how it led him to Eni. Then he dove into his current work, sharing his incredible vision for the company as it braces for major changes and sets ambitious objectives for the energy transition.

” The global energy transition is the greatest challenge of our times. Never before have we gone through such a transformation in an industry as the one we are currently experiencing”, said Mr. Silvestri.


Our Guest Speaker gave a broad overview of the impressive projects the company is pursuing, which includes entering completely new industries, forging strong external partnerships, and investing in start-ups that are researching, developing and marketing businesses and products that fit a vision for a more sustainable future. This includes green chemistry; forms of renewable energy, such as solar, wind and wave-powered; and new urban mobility solutions, like electric car sharing.


“On the one hand, energy companies are an engine of economic development, but on the other are responsible for the majority of emissions. Investors don’t want to invest anymore if we do not change. It’s not just a matter of heart but a matter of long-term viability of the industry.”


The challenge is in making these ventures sustainable and finding a balance between the company’s past – what to do with existing oil and gas infrastructure and how to contend with the role it plays in local communities and economies, especially in Africa – and its future, as it becomes increasingly imperative to reimagine where profitable business lies, address how its traditional image impacts reputation, and comply with the pressure from governmental bodies.


After sharing the details of his ambitions for innovative future developments at Eni Group, executive students were able to ask their burning questions. They were curious about how adapting company culture to new visions, the role governance plays in innovation strategies, and whether there is a common framework for the management of innovation across industries the company is entering.


A sparking and lively debate took place, and some crucial conclusions emerged.


“We do all these things and are committing ourselves to be a net-zero emissions company by 2050. That is pretty challenging for such a huge company,” he said, adding that despite this, one thing is certain “at the core of this game are technology and innovation.”


from left to right: Enzo Baglieri, Associate Dean Masters Division; Nando Pennarola, GEMBA Director; Giacomo Silvestri, Executive Chairman of Eniverse Ventures and Eni Group Head of Innovation Ecosystems.


SDA Bocconi School of Management

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