General Electric is one of the most admired and most innovative companies in the world. It is always looking to push the envelope, as expressed in its company slogan of “imagination at work.”

Now, it’s come up with a new approach to creativity, as reported by Joshua Brustein for the New York Times: “On April 10, GE announced a partnership with Quirky, a New York-based start-up that is a kind of social network for inventors, helping turn vague ideas into marketable items, manufacturing them, and distributing them through stores like Best Buy and Target. GE is licensing hundreds of its patents to the company’s community and working directly to help identify particularly promising consumer uses of these patents. The number of patents that GE is making available is expected to grow into the thousands in the coming months. The deal provides for GE to share in the revenue from resulting products. The company will thus have a chance to profit further from its intellectual property — say, for special coatings to protect industrial equipment from water damage, or cooling techniques for LED lighting systems — without having to figure out itself how such things might appeal to consumers.”

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11 Replies to “GE’s Push into the Crowd for Innovation”

  1. I think this is a fantastic idea on GE’s part. Instead of being selfish with their patents they are letting other inventors and manufacturers to work with them enabling more progress in technology. In this day and age often times companies get into patent wars.Essentially they try to patent every idea even remotely related to a product they may be making or have already and then sue whoever is doing something slightly similar. This has created a marketplace where innovations are slim to none because people are too afraid they will be sued. GE is definitely going to look better in the public eye for letting other people use their patents.

  2. This innovative business model will bring the benefits to everyone. Some large companies like GE can optimize their resource distribution and get a decent profit by authorizing the intellectual property to some small companies. At the same time, the start-up companies can earn the money by developing the patent and reach at the advanced technology from GE. The consumers can be satisfied by the novel products. They always trust these products based on prestigious companies’ support.

  3. I am genuinely happy to glance at this web site posts which contains tons of valuable
    data, thanks for providing these kinds of information.

  4. I like how General Electric is allowing all these smaller companies to have access to the patents and technology that they currently use. Small companies are hard to start up, especially with huge competitors such as GE over you. The way GE has handled this seems very professional to me as well, especially when being compared to other big companies such as Apple that do not hesitate to sue any company if the steal any patents, even if by accident.

  5. I’d have to agree with all the previous comments. GE is supporting other inventors with licensing patents and technology. They make money from these patents and so do the inventors. It will not only expand their own business market, but improve the economy by providing means for new innovations with new inventors. Bravo.

  6. This is a kind of classical American innovation. And I think the Chinese government should learn something from this. I think GE is strong enough to hold this crowd innovation and help young people with good idea to achieve their dream.

  7. I feel GE are also seeking for new product from helping Quirky. There may be ideas match the GE’s mission, and by licensing its patents, GE has a better opportunity to buy it out in the future if its profitable. On the other hand, this whole new product strategy can be a good publicity.

  8. Innovation is so important for firms to development business. Many largest company spend a lot on the innovation. Although It may cost for the firm in short-term, it may beneficial for the firm to get long term profits.

  9. One advantage of partnership is a company can get supports such as marketing channel or technology from their partners. In this case, GE may invest more money on R&D parts and has more than thousands of patents. Cooperate with Quirky can help GE to bring their ideas to life and make profits. Quirky also can increase their revenues. This is a win-win strategy for both companies.

  10. I feel this is a really good idea for GE to generate some good ideas from outside of their company. Sometimes people from the outside are able to develop better ideas then ones who work for the company. The only drawback though is that inventors may not want to give their ideas to GE and risk GE taking most of the profits.

  11. This business model could result in a win-win situation. The GE could invest more money on R&D and make idea come true. On the other hand, Quirky could use their core competence to increase their revenues. Sometimes, a good idea lack of proper way or immediate action to carry out, so this innovative partnership is beneficial for both company.

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