GE needed a pipeline of product ideas to continue to grow the ecomagination brand.
Developed five green product platform that will grow the ecomagination brand in the US market.
The Full Story
At the turn of the century, GE recognized that in order to continue to succeed as a business, it needed to invest in the future. Therefore, GE launched its ecomagination initiative. Since then, growing the ecomagination brand has remained to be a key pillar of GE’s growth strategy. The initiative includes marketable green products to customers, and behind-the-scene sustainability improvement.
Furthering the initiative, the consumer product division engaged the team to look for new product ideas that would fit with the ecomagination brand.
The GE team wanted to bring new green techs to the US market. One way to achieve that goal was to import bleeding edge product platform from overseas markets, and to adapt and scale these product ideas for US consumers. After all, to quote Mark Twain, “There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope.”
The team started with secondary analysis to evaluate what was the state of the global marketplace. I specifically investigated the current trends in the domestic market to evaluate what would be commercial viable in this market.
As a team, we surveyed the global green tech landscape. What was available? Who were the innovators in the space? What may be the similarities and differences between the US market and the international market?
The team quickly focused on several key markets as a potential source of ideas. In fact, one country was home to a budding green tech industry – Japan.
Japan is located on a relatively small island. While the island was resource poor, it is home to 127 million people. With an educated population, green tech was thriving in Japan. To see the future first-hand, I organized for the team a research trip to Japan. During the trip, we observed how the latest eco-friendly technologies were presented in the marketplace. To get the behind-the-scene details, we had interviews with numerous company executives behind those products. During these interviews, we also explored partnership opportunities for bringing these green techs back to America.
Ultimately, the team identified five high-potential product platforms. Commercial viability was determined based on the product's success in existing markets, likely US consumer acceptance, pro-forma financials, and fit with ecomagination brand. While specific product concepts were only presented to GE executives, broad learning regarding the latest in green tech was presented at the International Business Outlook Conference in St. Louis.