Sep 30, 2007

GE's chief innovation consultant

Is going to be none other than Vijay Govindarajan the co-author of "10 rules for strategic innovators"

Says Govindarajan: “My area of expertise is how to create breakthrough businesses, while managing the current business. And this is what I will do at GE as well.” This was also a theme that Govindarahan addressed in the bestselling book ‘10 Rules for strategic Innovators’ (co-authored with Chris Trimble).

Jeffery Immelt has been pushing innovation at GE ever since he took over in 2001. The idea is to grow though organic innovation insted of just acquiring companies. GE has identified six areas to infrastruture, demographics, emerging markets, digital technologies and financial liquidity. Each of these business present tremendous opportunities to create break through businesses, says Govindarajan. For instance3, demographic changes are leading to a huge healthcare needs in the coming 50 years.
This means GE needs to identify these needs now and see how it can address them through its diagonostics business.

This is the first time GE has created the position of chief innovation consultant. Govindarajan will perform three roles during his one year stint at the company (he will return to Tuck in 2009): teaching its top 600 executives and teams, consulting on a few innovation projects and consulting to GE executives who want to develop their ideas.

“GE does an extremely good job of integrating what they teach at their development center in Crotonville with actually growth strategy,” says Govindarajan. A lot of the projects he will take on will involve individual GE units all over the world.

I personally think that the most impactful of these activities would be teaching those 600 executives innovation. However, it does seem funny for Edison's company to hire an innovation consultant, IMHO :-)

Check out Vijay's blog here. It's not very frequently updated, alas :(