Energy networks accelerate the UK’s race to net zero carbon Innovation Measurement Framework - Case Study

The EIC (formerly the Energy Innovation Centre), together with the Energy Networks Association (ENA), Ofgem, and consultancy firm Baringa, have supported the industry in developing the world’s first industry wide Innovation Measurement Framework.

The opportunity

Tackling one of the most challenging elements of innovation acceleration and implementation – measurement.

What is the Innovation Measurement Framework?

The Innovation Measurement Framework, a project initially commissioned by the EIC, is the first live and transparent dashboard that monitors innovation projects for the energy networks, the industry regulator and innovators. The framework’s simple metrics and dashboard interface allows all parties to quickly assess the level of cross industry collaboration, revealing where innovation is being implemented and, more importantly, where innovation is needed. It increases the pace of innovation - innovation that makes energy affordable and sustainable.

Why now?

The EIC recognises that for many large businesses, what gets measured gets done. Previous measures of success traditionally focussed on the financial returns. However, the drive for decarbonisation, specifically the UK’s net zero carbon target, is rapidly challenging that approach. Financial returns from innovation are still important, but it now ranks equally alongside societal and environmental impacts, which is why the EIC’s Innovation Measurement Framework measures all three.

Better and faster together

Innovation moves faster with collaboration. To tackle one of the industry’s biggest challenges, the EIC knew that a unified approach to creating an Innovation Measurement Framework would be the best route to success and unite partners with the innovator community. That’s why after 11 years of working closely with industry and innovators to accelerate innovation, the EIC was able to create this shared platform with the help of Ofgem, the ENA, consultancy firm Baringa, as well as a community of global innovators. Thereby proving that collaboration leads to faster innovation.

The purpose of the framework

Humanity faces a climate emergency and it is recognised that the energy industry has a key role to play in overcoming the challenge of rising carbon emissions. If we are to achieve the net zero carbon target then there is an urgent need for greater transparency and acceleration of innovative projects across the sector. That is the purpose of the framework.

Key elements of the framework include:

  • Measuring wider factors, such as societal and cultural benefits of an innovation
  • It speeds up the innovation projects from idea, to operational business as usual
  • It creates a universal standard for measuring success of innovation projects
We are proposing to continue to award network companies ring-fenced innovation funding to take forward projects considering the significant challenges facing the energy sector as we move towards net zero. However, there is a real need to publicly and transparently track this spending to ensure companies are working together and collaborating on these projects, and ultimately ensure the money is delivering benefits to consumers. We encourage the network companies and other stakeholders to work together to develop a suitable framework as a matter of urgency and the IMF could be a promising step in the right direction.

The next steps

The investment and dedication of collaboration partners involved in the design of the framework have enabled the Innovation Measurement Framework to reach a point in its development where it can now be handed over to the ENA. The ENA has the power and standing in the sector to take the framework to business as usual faster. It is ideally placed to support the networks with the implementation of the framework and take another step closer to achieving the UK’s net zero carbon target.

The Innovation Measurement Framework is a UK first and is vital to help track the outcomes of network companies’ innovation projects. It will help to ensure speedy and efficient innovation. Consumers will have access to consistent information which will enable them to understand how the projects benefit them and which will also enable the network companies monitor and track the successes of the projects they’re running. The EIC played a crucial role in devising the Framework which has now been finalised and adopted by the network companies.

What does success look like?

The long-term goals for the Innovation Measurement Framework:

  • Each energy network to have a live dashboard that third parties can access to assess the details of the organisation’s overall innovation strategy
  • To be regularly updated to align with changing industry regulations, industry needs and the needs of customers to move innovation at a faster pace
  • To create a consistent approach for third parties when tailoring and adopting in other sectors
  • Reduce actual and perceived barriers to entry for SME and network innovation project collaboration
  • Increase commercial opportunities for innovators which help the UK’s net zero carbon ambitions
We are facing a climate emergency that we will only overcome by working together. The Innovation Measurement Framework aligns the interests of all stakeholders in order to accelerate innovation, helping the UK to reach its net carbon zero target and recover from the current crisis. As the UK energy sector and SMEs adapt to new ways of working following the COVID-19 outbreak, the need for a more holistic approach to innovation measurement has never been more important. This project captures everything we stand for at the EIC: encouraging collaboration, supporting positive change within the industry, and being the voice of the innovator community.


  • Northern Gas Networks
  • Wales & West Utilities
  • Cadent
  • UK Power Networks
  • Northern Powergrid
  • SP Energy Networks
  • Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks
  • National Grid Gas Transmission
  • National Grid Electricity Transmission

*Contributors listed were those involved in the EIC’s development stage of the Innovation Measurement Framework. As the framework has now been transferred to the Energy Networks Association, all UK gas and electricity networks are involved in the implementation phase of the Innovation Measurement Framework.