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GE’s Open Collaboration Model

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OVERVIEW: This article explores General Electric’s experience with open collaboration as part of its research and development efforts in markets adjacent to the company’s core businesses. In recent years, GE has reached out beyond its network of global R&D centers to collaborate with new and different kinds of external partners, including start-ups and researchers, to develop new technologies and bring the resulting new products to scaled markets faster, including in clean tech and healthcare innovation. Open collaboration has become a strong platform for growth in adjacencies at GE, and the company has applied lessons learned from the experience of working with outside partners to transform the way innovation is done internally.

Keywords: Adjacencies; Clean tech; Healthcare; Open collaboration; Open innovation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: is vice president of advanced technologies for GE Global Research, the centralized research and development organization of General Electric. In that role, Michael oversees the company’s longest-range, highest-impact research endeavors, including major programs in nanotechnology, energy conversion, molecular medicine, advanced propulsion, organic electronics, and sustainable energy. Michael began his career at GE in 1978 as an engineer for aircraft engines. Michael received a BS in mechanical engineering from Columbia University and a Master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He holds 12 U.S. patents. 2: has more than 30 years of experience in research and development and plays a key role in leading operations at GEN3 Partners, where he serves as president and Chief Operating Officer and also leads a number of strategic business and technology developments. Sam is a strategic and technical advisor to a number of venture capital funds and start-ups. He has a PhD in material science and an MS in applied physics. Sam is the author of more than 50 articles and 17 patents and is a certified TRIZ and Master Black Belt Six-Sigma specialist.

Publication date: July 1, 2012

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