We met with Mercedes Olster, Operations & Strategy Specialist at Enel Green Power, for a fireside chat on enabling innovation and remote capabilities in field service with Vyn SmartVideoNotes.
Could you tell us what you do at work and what you really enjoy?
I help our Head of Engineering & Construction with strategic initiatives that we need to implement. I really enjoy being a force of change and making people’s lives easier.
What are you passionate about?
Sustainability is very important to me. With the state of the planet now, there needs to be a change. I think the pandemic taught us that – with the way that we approach work, family life and how we interact with the environment around us. I want to drive change in the right direction.
Do you apply sustainability principles both at work and outside as well?
Absolutely. I have a Net Zero home – my home is solar and wood heated. We don’t use anything from the grid and it’s energy efficient. I like to carry that across all aspects of my life.
What challenges did you overcome to be a changemaker and innovator?
One of the main challenges is trying to get people to understand your ideas, and your viewpoint. Why is this important to you? What is your mission? How is this going to impact them? You have to make everybody understand the why, so that they can believe what you believe in.
How receptive have people been to that?
My organisation is rather large and the advice that I was given early on is it takes a lot to turn a ship this big. That is what I always remember when I’m convincing somebody to buy into the mission that I believe in, sometimes it’s met very receptively and other times not. Having to overcome those communication gaps is a struggle that I do face, but overall I would say it’s been positive.
How did Vyn come about in Enel?
Our innovation team found Vyntelligence. They work with startups and bring new ideas to Enel. I saw it and knowing the direction the company was going in, I decided that everybody needed to see it. I shared it with our Head of Engineering & Construction and our management teams, knowing that we were going to change our focus to a quality-driven organisation.
What do you think about the power of video as a technology?
Video is hugely important. It gives you the context for what you’re looking at. You’re able to show the area around what you’re looking at or you are talking through the problem. You might be able to catch things that you wouldn’t catch when you are writing notes. The AI technology that Vyn SmartVideoNotes has, allows you to start looking at recurring issues, getting it to the right people to fix them and avoid these issues in the future. It’s efficiency, it’s what every business is looking for.
“Video is hugely important. It gives you the context for what you’re looking at.”
What benefits are you finding with enabling new innovation such as Vyn?
Vyn allows us to track our quality across our portfolio, both globally and locally, which is not something that we have currently. Once the local unit was on board, we had to convince our global unit and making the personal connection really helped. The Vyn team met our team in Rome, they had a great conversation and now our central unit is looking at deploying Vyn.
“Vyn allows us to track our quality across our portfolio both globally and locally”
How is this different from what you were doing before?
When we’re talking about our sites, they weren’t standardised. Everything was being done differently. But as we grow and scale, we need to work towards standardisation and need to be able to have support in place for our site teams, something that Vyn has really helped us with. We are able to build out storyboards that standardise how all of our teams review quality of work. A remote expert can help in seconds if something is wrong, which is not a capability we had before.
How does Vyn help bridge the skills gap in the industry?
We have historically struggled with taking tribal knowledge that experienced people have and making it accessible to everybody. Vyn has been instrumental in bridging that. Having a system that you can build ground-up and get teams involved early has been instrumental in helping us build something that is easy for everybody to use.
How have you found the technology?
With Vyn, changes are made very quickly, within 24 to 48 hours. It’s completely customisable, so we have the ability to build it how we want. Normally, when you introduce a new technology to a site team, especially in construction, there is this feeling of “this is going to make my life more difficult”.
This is the first tool that has been introduced to the teams, where they felt like “wow, this really helps, this is easy, we like it, it’s easy to get going, it’s easy to sign onto, it’s easy to understand”. It’s just been a great addition to our team.
Vyn’s AI is very simple to utilise – you’re just taking videos and they’re coming up on a dashboard. For the end user, it’s almost invisible.
“Vyn’s AI is very simple to utilise. For the end user, it’s almost invisible.”
What are your top tips to champion innovation?
Start small, get a few key people involved and define what you’re looking to accomplish and why you’re doing this. Have that well documented before you move it to a larger scale. Make sure you include all the groups that are to be involved in the decision making. Get your IT department involved, get your construction department involved, defining that list and getting them in early will save you time at the end. Get the people who are going to be using the tool involved early as well. Help them build the tool out, help them to understand why this is important.
Any tips on enabling innovation in field service using Vyn SmartVideoNotes?
I would say go for it. Construction is historically pen and paper but to move to a new technology and gather insight into what is going on in the field has been extremely beneficial. Of course, change is always scary, but I would say this one’s worth it.
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