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X_Site at Dogpatch Labs

Disruption in the energy sector was a key driver in the establishment by ESB of its first innovation hub, X-Site at Dogpatch Labs, in early 2016.

The projects being run from X_Site have each been designed around the customer. The core value propositions aim to resolve real problems that potential customers of our new services face. X_Site aims to provide an environment for the validation of new business opportunities and new service concepts and provoke disruptive thinking across ESB. Positioning itself to learn from the wider startup community, enhances the innovation capability of the organisation and supports the development of future value opportunities for ESB.

X_Site Projects

See below for a brief overview of two initial projects that have made big strides since their inception in early 2016.

Planet9 Energy

Planet9 Energy aims to disrupt the UK energy supply market by identifying the inflexibility and lack of transparency by the big energy suppliers, in terms of customer offerings and subsequent charging and billing to large energy customers. ESB see this as an opportunity where they can revolutionise their service and provide enhanced control to large UK energy consumers.

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Home Hero

After a period of engagement and interaction with potential customers across the UK the original business concept (SAMEBOAT) was restructured into Home Hero: a digital concierge, initially providing Energy Supplier advice to customers in the GB market. Home Hero is a virtual energy assistant that saves you money on your bill, allowing price comparisons across energy providers.

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Watch our ESB X_Site Innovation Hub Video

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Culture and Design

X_Site is a visible and tangible symbol of culture change for ESB. In addition to the innovative ideas and business opportunities that are being developed here, ESB is using X_Site as an environment for disruptive thinking and the sharing of new innovation techniques across the company. At the end of its first year, there has been heightened interest in X_Site from all Business Units across ESB and a pipeline of new business opportunities is beginning to emerge.

"The energy sector is undergoing profound change and disruption at a pace and to a degree like never experienced before. The requirement for ESB to innovate, whether in ways to make us more competitive and effective in all the things that we do really well for our customers today, or in the establishment of new services and businesses that will grow our company over the coming years has never been more pressing."

Paul Mulvaney, Executive Director Innovation


Collaboration is becoming increasingly important for ESB as the pace of change and disruption, in the sectors in which we operate intensifies. Being part of the tech community at Dogpatch Labs has resulted in a culture shift within the organisation.

Design Thinking

The X_Site team has been introducing people from right across the company to the principles and techniques within the Design Thinking framework. Design Thinking is a customer-focused problem solving methodology which, encourages participants to consider problems or innovation opportunities from the customer’s perspective, and to develop ideas and potential solutions based on those insights.

Innovation Workshops

X_Site hosted a workshop that introduced over 50 attendees to the concepts of Open and Collaborative Innovation, enabled through APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) and shared communication protocols. External speakers from academia such as IC4 in DCU and emerging startups such as CurrencyFair shared insights to the Sharing Economy, prompting discussion around how these concepts are beginning to disrupt the energy sector.

Open Innovation

ESB held its Big Energy Hack at Dogpatch Labs over the weekend from 21-23 Oct 2016. Over 140 participants from diverse backgrounds and industries took part and teams developed ideas focusing on 3 challenges. In addition to the great ideas that were shared at the event, the Hackathon was another visible symbol both to the external world and to internal staff, that ESB is fully supportive of innovation and sees the future value that initiatives like the Big Energy Hack can generate for the company.

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Check out the X_Site Report 2016

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The partnership with Google allows us to increase our outreach into Dublin’s startup community. It brings many benefits to Dublin’s startups, including mentoring programmes and access to Google engineers and experts.

Patrick Walsh, Managing Director

"Our partnership with Dogpatch Labs gives us an ideal platform for ESB to connect with an Irish grassroots tech community and helps drive the required culture change to transform ESB into an innovation energy leader."

Fergal Egan, Energy Innovation Manager, ESB