Energy transformation generates innovation

The challenges facing us in the years ahead are multiple and varied. Nevertheless, according to Paulo Pisano, Chief People Officer, Galp prefers to view the world with positive energy and turn potential obstacles into opportunities

Low carbon, renewable energies and new business models are some of the challenges Galp will have to address in the next few years, striving to innovate and reinvent processes, to introduce new technologies and to guarantee the focus and motivation of the company's approximately 7,000 employees based around the world. “We are developing a series of internal projects designed to improving processes, technology and people with an impact on everything we do in the market”, states Paulo Pisano, Director of Personnel at Galp.

Innovation and the ability to adapt and respond to change are nothing new at the energy group founded in 1999 and are already part of the organisation's DNA. However, as the director declares, “this can't be done overnight”.

This transformation is the fruit of daily and continuous work. “The creation of a culture of innovation is not immediate, it's the result of time and persistence.” First of all, he explains, “we need to create an environment and a culture in which people feel they can innovate and find creative solutions for the problems.” We then need to align incentives, training, and personal development programmes, among other tools, that promote a better structured process of innovation at the company.

Whereas this is a difficult task for any organisation, there is an additional challenge at Galp. “We are a combination of several organisations within the group, some of which are over a hundred years old, others more recent, and a number of different cultures”, underlines Paulo Pisano. And this is why it is essential to integrate all these differences, to align the strategies and the path to take, taking all the specific characteristics into account. “This is a challenge involving integration that we want to be effective, that generates value and that is not just the sum of the parts”, he adds.

"SingularityU's vision of the future is extremely similar to Galp's, focusing on the creation of value, technology and with an onus on the client”

Paulo Pisano believes that, due to the fact Galp is a successful organisation, it would be easy for team members to feel comfortable and take their foot off the gas. However, dissatisfaction is a word that is at the top of the energy lexicon, and, pursuant to this standpoint, “we wish to reinforce continuous dissatisfaction to seek out new opportunities for improvement and business models”.

Another internal challenge we face is the mixture of generations comprising the teams. “We now have the highest number of generations (five) that have ever worked together, in addition to people with varying lengths of service”, says Paulo Pisano. A reality that is not exclusive to Galp, but which demands the special attention of the human resources team.

Besides the differences in age, Galp also boasts a multicultural team, featuring people of more than 40 nationalities in its workforce, as well as an increasing number of female employees in management positions. “We need to look for means of motivation that involve everyone”, explains the director of the department. In his opinion, everyone needs to feel that they're a part of the organisation, that they can improve and contribute, making a difference. “Creating an inclusive culture is the right path.”

Once again, this cannot be achieved from one moment to the next. “We strive to be able to create an independent environment that is both diverse and inclusive, with areas where people work close together – where they feel that they belong, that they can improve and do their best -, and work on this motivation regardless of one's age. “At the same time”, adds Paulo Pisano, “we mustn't forget that there are ways of working more adapted to age, and as such we need to manage to communicate and involve people in different ways, with initiatives geared to different audiences.”


Galp is one of the founding partners of Singularity University, recently arrived in Portugal. Our association with this project right from the start is due to the fact that, as Paulo Pisano explains, “SingularityU´s vision of the future is extremely similar to ours, focusing on the creation of value, technology and with an onus on the client”.

According to the Director of Personnel at Galp, the energy company adhered to the project, conceived in Silicon Valley, largely due to its recognition of the use of exponential technologies. “They were the first major advocates in the market in relation to this topic.” And adds: “Galp believes the energy industry is undergoing major changes and that this model provides us with great opportunities and challenges.”

Internally, the company has already turned to technologies of creation and innovation as a means of maintaining a leading edge. “SingularityU possesses toolkits and methodologies for working in a context of exponential technologies that we have already used”, Paulo Pisano reveals. However, he points out, “having the tools is not enough, we need to get people to think outside the box”.

"All the members of the team have the opportunity, the ability and the chance to be leaders at the organisation"

A change in mentality that is required of both companies and society. “A highly-fashionable project like SingularityU could be of enormous value to the country's economy, attracting top-quality talent and international organisations with innovation centres, etc.” The director of the petroleum enterprise believes the time is right for discovering sources of support for innovation and acknowledges that SingularityU could make a difference. “They have a network with over 40,000 students all over the world, in different sectors, NGOs, governments, etc. We need to take advantage of the value of these areas and these people in order to help Portugal develop.”

This is why the energy company wants to create ambition and self-confidence in its personnel, placing them in contact with real stories and inspirational cases that generate value for society and that arose from small ideas and dissatisfaction. “We want to know what opportunities lie adjacent to growth, expansion and the capture of value”, the director declares.

This strategy also includes the training of leaders. Not only those at the top of the organisation, due to the fact, he admits, “we are all leaders”. In his opinion, all the members of the team have the opportunity, the ability and the chance to be leaders at the organisation. “Contact with different types of other leaders is extremely important and helps ours to develop.”