How GE Fuse is Prototyping New Solutions, with Help from an Online Community

By Kelsey Alpaio, Staff Writer

The GE Fuse team has a meeting in their office at the mHub (Photo by Paul Elledge).

At Chicago’s mHub, entrepreneurs, investors, engineers, and designers sit side-by-side. Nearby, 3D printers, laser cutters, and CNC machines work to crank out quick prototypes, while the in-house microfactory handles small production runs.

This is home to GE Fuse, a new innovation platform and community focused on speeding up the development of new products for GE customers. Fuse is one of GE’s many new approaches — from GE Ventures to GENIUSLINK to FastWorks, the company’s internal lean startup initiative. GE’s GENIUSLINK team, the company’s open innovation and crowdsourcing experts, launched the Fuse business model.

“The concept [of Fuse] is around sourcing different problems from GE customers and then working with an online community to solve those problems,” says Amelia Gandara, the Community Leader for GE Fuse. “Once we have a potential solution, that’s where I hand over these potential solutions to Deborah [Brown, Fuse’s Rapid Prototype Leader,] and her team, and they make those solutions a reality.” Brown’s role is to take potential solutions, prototype them, and then work toward getting a final product to the customer.

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