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GE Customer Innovation Center

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    “If you want to innovate as a big company, work with a startup.”
    Gandeephan Ganeshalingam, Chief Innovation Officer for GE Canada

Linking Entrepreneurial Innovation with Corporate Resources

With industrial sectors expanding and new challenges arising across vectors, stagnation is the enemy of any business looking to stay relevant. To that end, GE Canada’s Customer Innovation Center (CIC) has started combining its experience with the fresh perspectives of its startup partners to solve industry challenges. According to Chief Innovation Officer, Gandeephan Ganeshalingam, “If you want to innovate as a big company, work with a startup.”

While the CIC works closely with its partners to develop wide-scale industry solutions, it remains careful not to tread upon the intellectual property rights of its collaborators. In GE’s model, the startup retains some of the technology, the CIC holds another aspect of the solution, and they present their work to the market as partners.

Amassing Game-changing Solutions

After the CIC and its partners have finalized a product, it is uploaded to GE’s OS, Predix. This platform is GE’s app store, with one common thread linking its applications: innovative solutions. Predix’s programs focus on helping companies maximize operational procedures while solving large-scale industry problems. For example, the CIC collaborated with Hifi to create a solution which would not only detect oil leaks, but record data detailing what caused the leak to prevent future incidents. This kind of ambitious innovation is what defines Predix’s applications.

By working with entrepreneurs and offering their solutions via Predix, the CIC seeks to solve, rather than mitigate, industry challenges for its customers.

Cultivating Industrial Innovation Across Vectors

GE CIC’s collaboration with startups has uniquely positioned it to solve industry challenges across North America, regardless of sectoral specificities. One of GE CIC’s solutions is actively changing the world of commercial flight. Its client, an airline, provided data on dispatch reliability and requested the CIC analyze the data and find areas for improvement. The solution was for GE to focus on its strong suit: robot learning.

By using robot learning, the CIC discovered variables affecting dispatch reliability like flight routes and passenger boarding procedures—vectors that a human would never connect. Through an emphasis on analyzing and transferring data, the CIC can provide clients with cutting-edge innovation without attempting to become an expert in every field.