December 18, 2007
Contributed by Shahira Raineri, GE Global Imagination Breakthrough Leader
(See complete bio below the article)
Throughout it’s 115-year history, GE has introduced world-changing technologies and processes. As the company continued to grow into one of the world’s largest companies, GE needed a powerful mechanism to transform potentially market-changing ideas into a portfolio of products to meet the needs of an ever-expanding global market.
In September 2003, GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt introduced a new process to build innovative solutions addressing global-scale challenges. These innovations, called “Imagination Breakthroughs”, receive special nurturing and investment to drive the solutions to maturity. To qualify as an Imagination Breakthrough (IB), each product idea must be directed at market transformation and must have the potential to achieve more than $100 million in incremental revenue.
IBs are delivering for GE. The current IB portfolio contains more than 45 IB projects in development around the globe. Since its inception, the IB program has consistently delivered $2-3B of incremental revenue annually.
Imagination Breakthroughs take two forms:
- Commercial products: designed to provide customers with products and processes that create new ways of conducting business, while maintaining GE efficiency and quality.
- Technology products: designed to provide customers with new technologies and solutions that help transform their marketplace.
IB Development: The Creative Process
In the early development phase, GE business units surface key ideas and innovations to the CEO in a formal IB review meeting. Once approved, the sponsoring business follows a regimented process to ensure development and delivery of a successful product to market.
CECOR: Turning Creative Ideas into Business Applications
Throughout their life, IBs follow the CECOR (Calibrate, Explore, Create, Organize, Realize) model, a GE-developed strategic framework that helps convert innovative thinking into tangible and practical business solutions.
A disciplined process that guides all GE business through shared marketing practices, CECOR is a series of 5 analyses designed to push an Imagination Breakthrough to achieve it’s greatest potential.
Calibrate … Business Performance
What is our business?
Who are our customers?
What do they need/want/prefer?
Explore … Avenues for Growth
What are our avenues for growth?
How do customers make money?
Create … New Ideas
What are our best ideas?
What is the customer value?
Organize … For Execution
Have we aligned resources?
Are we collaborating with customers?
Realize … Value
What is our revenue and income plan?
How will we measure customer and GE impact?
Throughout this series of reviews, the customer’s needs and requirements are kept squarely at the center of the IB development to ensure that not only is an IB innovative, but, that it also accomplishes the goals of the customer. Once an IB evolves through the full process, it is ready to be launched.
The IB portfolio is dynamic – it is not only one of the ways that GE achieves growth, but it is in line with the company’s strategic intent which ensures that these breakthroughs are enabling our reach into new markets and important adjacencies.
About the Author:
GE Global Imagination Breakthrough Leader
Shahira joined GE in early 2003 as the Global Marketing Leader for the Healthcare Vertical Initiative. In this role she was responsible for analyzing healthcare needs, articulating the value proposition of our broader healthcare offer, creating company-wide sales tools and marketing communications materials. Now the Corporate Imagination Breakthrough Leader, Shahira leads a variety of strategic marketing projects and works closely with the GE Global Research Center and the businesses to enable the commercialization of breakthrough innovations.
Prior to GE, Shahira was at Siemens Medical Solutions where she worked as Marketing Director. During her tenure at Siemens, she was also Vice President of Marketing for the Optical Networking division of the company’s Information and Communications Network.
Shahira previously led various teams at Lucent Technologies and AT&T Bell Labs. During her tenure at AT&T and Lucent, Shahira led global teams in the areas of Product Management, Systems Engineering and Market Development. Shahira began her career as Chief Biomedical Engineer at Berlex Laboratories.
Shahira received a B.S. and a M.S.E.E. from Rutgers University.
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