Svenska kraftnät

How Svenska kraftnät is implementing change

Navigating the energy transition relies on successful change management. We explored the Swedish transmission operator’s company-wide change project.
Published: Thu 25 Jan 2018

Change doesn’t just happen. At Engerati we believe that change management is at the core of the energy transition. In fact, the energy transition could be seen as change management on a mega scale. To understand how this plays out at the organizational level, we asked Swedish Transmission System Operator (TSO) Svenska kraftnät to detail their 2018 company-wide change project. We aim to revisit the project regularly to share their learnings with you.

The energy transition challenges

To begin, Svenska Kraftnät identified four key challenges facing the energy system, both in Sweden and internationally:

  • The increased share of weather-dependent power generation
  • Navigating common European laws and regulations in the field of energy
  • New forms of power consumption posing new demands
  • Svenska kraftnät's mission and the rate of change in our surroundings making increased demands on improved control and on increased co-operation

Initiating the change project

An improvement project was initiated in the spring of 2017 with the vision of Svenska Kraftnät going “from managing to leading”.

The reform project began with an analysis allowing both employees and external parties to leave comments.

The analysis revealed a number of improvement areas for Svenska kraftnät and three were selected for further work - organisation, culture, and strategy.

The TSO reported to Engerati that working groups consisting of employees and managers have met with great commitment and collaboration during the autumn of 2017 to consider and plan upcoming activities.

“I have had some resistance, of course,” Svenska kraftnät Director General and CEO, Ulla Sandborgh, told Engerati. “In the end, why we succeeded was that some people really believed in this.”

Sandborgh says the last model of operation was in place for 25 years and the ability for her to change the thinking is down to less than 10 people at the organization “who dared to say ‘let’s try something new’”.

The target scenario is “a culture of bold, transparent and sustainable leadership, including all employees”.

Creating a ‘new’ organisation

Work with the development area organisation resulted in a ‘new organisation’ for Svenska kraftnät, effective from 1 January 2018.

The operation now consists of three divisions; Electricity system operator, Electricity transmission and Corporate functions and business services.

Svenska kraftnät say that the new organisation “enhances the potential for strategic overview and increased co-operation”.

Work on the development of each division is ongoing and permanent Executive Vice Presidents for the divisions will be appointed.

Activities are also ongoing within the areas ‘strategy’ and ‘culture’, and a strategy for Svenska Kraftnät shall be in place as part of the 2019 planning prerequisites.

Svenska Kraftnät told Engerati that it is “establishing common working methods, based on research from the Stockholm School of Economics, concluding as Collective Ability”.

IT's collaboration with operations

A challenge identified was in creating proactive IT development based on Svenska kraftnät's mission and in line with business objectives.

To this end, in the new organisation IT specialists integrate with operational specialists in order to address this challenge and “create good opportunities for a culture development where IT and operations work together for Innovation and technology-driven development”.

Shared responsibility for innovation

When Engearti spoke to Sandborgh it was clear that she is an advocate of promoting innovation and was honest in her assessment of the challenges.

“We can see that this winter there is going to be a shortage in several European countries. How are we going to meet this? Just by building new generation? No, by looking for innovation and new ideas.”

To this end, each division in the organisation includes an entity charged with innovation and technology-driven development, with responsibility to create and maintain a roadmap for innovation and digitisation.

For example, the external challenges of diminishing predictable production from nuclear power and increasing renewable energy requires increased levels of automation - one of many areas to innovate around.

We look forward to reporting their progress.

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