Understanding Innovation and Its Importance in an Energy Company: A Case Study of Maersk Oil & Ørsted Wind Power

Peter Staunstrup

Student thesis: Master thesis


Innovation in knowledge-heavy and complex industries is interesting to investigate, as such is usually associated with the technical capability of the given company. Through a case study of the two largest energy companies in Denmark, the strategy, Innovation management and the interlink here between is assessed. The two cases represent companies producing energy in different manners; an Upstream Oil & Gas company, using the technology of both yesterday and today, and another company specialising in the technology of today and tomorrow; e.g. by producing energy from wind power. In this thesis, it is found that both companies are focused on incremental Innovation over radical innovation. This can be explained by the ownership structure, and the two companies being subsidiaries of a larger company which diversifies the overall corporate strategy on their behalf. Furthermore, in recent year, while both companies have emphasized innovation culture, their approaches have not been the same. While Ørsted Wind Power have Innovation Games; a workshop for all employees to submit ideas, and in the end present to their executive board, Maersk Oil establishes Innovation Hubs, and has Innovation Moments on a bi-weekly basis with the executive management. Both companies are pursuing exploitation strategies for the capabilities they currently possess, which again can be linked to their position as parts of a larger enterprise. From the findings and similarities, based on interviews and analysis, this thesis proposes a framework to assess the importance of Innovation in a company, which determines the degree to which Innovation can be categorized as a priority for the company. This framework explores the compliance of a given company with 5 different factors: Quantity of Ideas, Quality of ideas, Maturation, Culture and Innovation branding. If a given company complies with all of these factors in their business, then Innovation is more likely to be prioritized for the executive management and, thus, be incorporated in the overall strategy. Finally, while the framework provides an initial model, much more research should be put into this framework, if it were viable to assess a company’s innovation effort on the whole. This framework can, however, be applied to similar companies for comparison. As a final comment, some further perspectives on the importance of innovation is discussed, such as how Innovation is important for talent attraction.

EducationsMSc in International Marketing and Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2018
Number of pages91