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Managing innovation

Innovation management at Abengoa is part of company strategy, formalized through a three-horizon approach in which R&D+i programs are defined with a view to developing new products, processes or services, or innovating existing products, processes or services. Conceived long-term, up to 30 years, R&D+i programs are undertaken partially over 10 years and in specific 3- or 4-year projects. These are the projects in which Abengoa’s R&D+i materializes.

Abengoa’s research and technological innovation projects are developed according to stage-gate model, which alternates developmental stages with critical control points in order to thereby achieve a framework for excellence and alignment with the company’s strategic objectives.

With a view to R&D decision-making and activity follow-up processes, in 2010 Abengoa implemented an indicator system devised in accordance with the basic principle of “what cannot be measured cannot be improved”, and which enables the company to assess the tangible and intangible aspects of innovation. The purpose of the system is to create a quantifiable reference framework for measurement and analysis of R&D+i at Abengoa. The company also intends to disseminate and use the system as a means of enhancing innovation management and decision-making. In 2011, Abengoa also started reporting on the investment drive indicator, enabling it to gauge the correlation between R&D investment and sales.

At Abengoa, most of our R&+i investment is channeled into applied research and the development of technologies that will allow us to reach our strategic objectives relating to sustainability and new products.

Investment in R&D totaled 90.6 M€ in 2011, up 31 % on the previous year and amounting to approximately 1.3 % of revenue and 12 % in annual growth from the investment (CAGR06-11).

The table below shows the area distribution of R&D investment at Abengoa in recent years:

Investment in R&D
* All investment pertaining to Telvent has been removed

Due to the rise in the number of patents, in 2011 Abengoa began to implement a technological monitoring and knowledge protection system in order to ensure more efficient management of the entire patent portfolio and ascertain the state of the art of the different technologies worldwide.

The table below shows the evolution in the number of patents and the number of Abengoa personnel involved in R&D work between 2009 and 2011.