Above our 2021 summer interns:
Matias Vedele, Yngvil  Skomedal, Edmondo Strada, Isabel Nicolaysen, Vebjorn Ohr.

Radical innovation from the next generation of talent

Be creative, think outside the box and come up with ideas for reaching Equinor’s net-zero by 2050 goal. That’s the challenge we gave our 2021 summer interns. Here's how one group tackled the challenge - and how kelp could play a part.

“A big part of an internship at Equinor is about learning by doing. Our interns get on-the-job experience, and also join a multidisciplinary project work with subject matter experts. This year, we wanted to give our interns a business challenge to strengthen their learning and development. The result was the Radical Innovation project,” Summer Internship Programme Lead Elaine Teixeira Marçal explains.

Thanks to our Innovation team in Research & Technology, the project could kick off with an expert introduction to radical innovation: a methodology that looks at fundamental changes to current concepts or technologies, leading to new knowledge, products or ideas.  Then, the interns were distributed into groups of 5-6 and received a mentor from Equinor, who supported them in the design and presentation of their radical ideas. 

We asked the radical innovation groups to reflect upon a business challenge: ‘as Equinor aims to be a net zero emissions company by 2050, can you share your ideas on how to reduce carbon emissions from our operations?’.

A rewarding experience

After their kickoff with the Radical Innovation experts, they had to come up with a variety of ideas before settling on one. One of the teams came up with an idea to use kelp as a potential way of capturing and storing CO2 in the future.

Their proposal was to use 75% of the Dogger Bank development area (8660 km2) to grow kelp among the wind turbines, which could provide excellent opportunities for carbon storage – and even help oxidize the ocean’s surface.

“I was really impressed by how genuinely interested in our opinions everyone we met were. Interns might not always get the most interesting tasks, but in Equinor we were fully in charge of the project and got to run the whole thing.” 

Edmondo Strada

“It was incredibly rewarding and really made me feel like we had produced something of value,” Edmondo says.

The entire team were even asked to hold a DigiTalk for Equinor employees and judging by the questions they got after their presentation, people had clearly been listening - and wanted to learn more. One of them was Grete Tveit, Senior Vice President in Equinor, MMP Low Carbon Solutions.

Grete Tveit
Senior Vice President in Equinor, MMP Low Carbon Solutions

“Reaching our climate target requires new technologies and new business models and markets. Our job will be to demonstrate viable solutions going forward – the opportunity to explore radical new ideas from our talented Summer Interns together with Equinor expertise is really exciting!” 

Grete Tveit

Inspired by an influx of ideas

 The Radical Innovation program entailed more than just brainstorming – teams also had to organize standups, meetings, assign tasks, conduct research and give presentations. But no one was left alone, and they had Equinor mentors ready to provide support when needed.

“It was reassuring to know that we had mentors to guide and help us along the way. Both our mentors were really dedicated and believed in our idea, which was very motivating. I really felt like everyone listened and took our ideas seriously. That really inspired me to come up with new ideas and contribute in more settings like this in the future,” 

Yngvil Kolltveit Skomedal.

Yngvil is a MSc Cybernetics and Robotics student at NTNU in Trondheim, but our Equinor summer interns weren’t the only ones left feeling inspired after the internship – so were our mentors:

“One of the benefits of being a mentor is the influx of fresh ideas from our mentees, they give us so much energy! Our summer interns bring new perspectives, and they have very valuable knowledge, skills and academia, which is priceless in the fast-moving and competitive environment we are in as a company,” Camilla Dybendal explains.

Photo by Silas Biasc - Unsplash

Looking to the future

Camilla was mentoring the Kelp Team together with Dimitrios Kostopoulos, who both got to share their knowledge and expertise with the interns. As a former intern himself, Dimitrios really saw the value of the experience for everyone involved: 

“It was both fun and inspiring experience to work with such young, brilliant talents. I am genuinely looking forward to meeting next year's summer interns and working with them to unlock further opportunities in our industry," Dimitrios says.  

The next generation will play an important role in shaping the future of energy. Projects like Radical Innovation let us draw on the ideas and perspectives of our emerging talents, but also prepare them to deliver even more high value solutions in their careers – no matter where their career takes them.

Elaine Teixeira Marçal
Summer Internship Programme Lead

“Whether it's innovation in the way we produce or use energy, it will be important to introduce students to a methodology that enables them to innovate. This will continue to form an important part of our future internship programmes and the way we develop talents,” Elaine says. 

Our 2022 Summer Internship programmes opened for applications on October 4th. Head over to our career pages to find out more

Meet the 2021 summer interns

Curious what it's like to be a summer intern in Equinor? Here's your answer!

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