I feel confident that the patient will survive!

By Karl Johnny Hersvik, Senior Vice President for Research & Development (R&D), Technology, Projects and Drilling (TPD)

First of all; thank you for challenging me, Sigrun.

I believe that your diagnosis is quite precise and that both a change of diet and an increased amount of exercise to make the patient recover fully. The cure might require a lot both from the patient and those watching over her.

I find the topic – Norway’s innovation capabilities – highly interesting. There is reason to claim that both Statoil as a company and the Norwegian oil and gas supply industry have a proud innovative history. What we have achieved together during the last four decades, is by all accounts impressive.

Despite an impressive technology history, we can not rest on our laurels. Globally there is a massive global focus on innovation and technology development, not only in our industry. And the ambitions are sky high. I love the first sentence of “Innovation and Research Strategy for Growth” published by UK Department for Business Innovation and Skills: “The UK has the potential to be a world leader in innovation”. That is the kind of attitude that I like!

However, the business environment are changing, and changing rapidly. The technological challenges are becoming more complex. We are going deeper, longer and colder. Innovation is a key factor to solve the challenges facing us. Statoil is an international oil and gas company with activities all over the world. We are recruiting globally, we are collaborating with the best wherever they may be, our ambition is to become a world leading research and development organization. Still, we are dependent on an internationally competitive, vigorous and innovative industry in Norway.

Statoil we are taking the consequences of the global changes and our drive to become world leading.

  • We are changing our name from Research & Development to Research, Development & Innovation. This is not a cosmetic change. Through the establishment of a new business unit that will only focus on innovation, we are putting innovation higher on the agenda and will work more systematically with innovation as a tool
  • We are going to learn from the best. Innovation is about collaboration and networking – through RDI we will systematically work to broaden the networks both internally and externally and enhance the innovation capabilities in Statoil. The agreement with University of Texas at Austin is one example
  • We are going to work more systematically to recognize and facilitate radical innovation. A team has been established to enhance our capabilities for radical thinking and testing of out of the box ideas
  • We will develop tools and structures that improves innovative efforts in Statoil
  • We will equip our leadership with tools that enables them to stimulate innovation. Quality in leadership is essential. The Technology Capture Forum is assessing ideas and provide advice and funding for further development. This ensures management involvement at high level – early in the process
  • We are globalizing our activities to be closer to the most innovative environments
  • We are increasing our RD budget with 25% from 2011 to 2012
  • Statoil’s Global Strategy and Business Development unit (GSB) is instrumental in Statoil’s further success for business and commercial opportunities. This unit has significantly raised the issue of how to become more innovative through e.g. the ProtoForum where key managers across business areas are gathered to share experience, knowledge and identify common areas of interest for further development
  • We have established innovation fascilitators on our locations to support inventors through low threshold funding and networking with their peers
  • We are reaching out to people with great ideas through this website because we strongly believe that there are so many clever people outside our company. This site is in it’s early phase and we learn as we go – but expect a more aggressive and more visible messages from this site in near future! We will make it clear that we are serious about innovation – and that when working with us is truly an experience worthwhile the passion and hard work for the good ideas

To sum it up: We have a proud technology heritage in Statoil. Now we are stepping up our efforts within research, technology development and innovation.

The patient will survive but the recovery will demand a lot from us!


  1. Posted June 26, 2012 at 5:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

    According to Alec J. Ross, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Senior Advisor for Innovation, 40% of America’s GDP (approximately $6 trillion in economic activity) comes from companies that did not exist 30 years ago. Now, 30 years is quite some time, but it still illustrates the importance of creating new activity!

  2. Einar Lande
    Posted July 21, 2012 at 11:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

    What you point at here Sigrun is what some of us like to call “Business Darwinism”. The basic of “Business Darwinism” is that any company survives as long as its business idea / foundation is valid. Example: Mercedes Benz are still producing cars, a task they have done since 1886. The reason they do it is because there is a need for cars. Back in 1886 the car was powered by a simple petrol engine. Today cars are powered by petrol, diesel, electricity and hydrogen power cells, and Mercedes Benz has naturally activity on all these power types, and tries to be positioned when a new power plant technology is ready for mass production and consumption.

    Statoil´s history is about finding and harvesting natural resources in terms of oil and gas. Statoil and the Norwegian supply chain has over the last 40 years demonstrated an enormous innovative power. We have through innovation prolonged the lifespan of several fields with decades, and we have been able to go deeper, longer and colder. Therefore I think that as long there are hydrocarbons to hunt on this planet we are in a good position.

    Some might ask, shouldn’t Statoil and the other Oil and Gas companies be the forerunners of new energy sources? I think due to the true nature of “business darwinism” that they are not. Statoil is for the next 30-40 years bound by its original purpose, hunt, find and harvest oil and gas, and when the day come that there are nothing more to hunt the company as well as the industry will go belly-up in its current form.

    Such decline does not happen from one day to another, and when the decline starts, some of the knowledge will find its ways and become the seeds of new corporations. If that should end up as StatWind, StatHydrogen go StatSun is not for me to predict. But I am convinced that when the day come, the innovative force of Statoil and the Norwegian supply chain will find new and unpredictable ways, and as such become part of whatever new industry that must come after the ages of oil and gas…

  3. Cyndi Harrington
    Posted September 22, 2012 at 9:29 AM | Permalink | Reply

    There exist technology that can be modified to deal with the ice issue… issues in transportation and rescue can be remedied….combination of options is best…so not to get stuck…ha.ha.Have to have a sense of humor or the brain stresses too much…My grand motber was norwegian Iam told..

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