Why GE created the new FirstBuild maker community

General Electric design executive Lou Lenzi, who works in the company’s appliance division, shared the thinking behind a new initiative the company unveiled this summer, FirstBuild. It’s an online community and real-world space in Louisville, Kentucky intended to attract inventors, entrepreneurs, and students interested in “co-creating” new kinds of products for the home, with an assist from GE. The space is quite interesting, involving not just the latest design and prototyping tools, but also a “micro-factory” — and the FirstBuild model even includes royalties for people involved in creating the new products that reach the market.

Lenzi explained why GE started FirstBuild, and the expected benefits, at the DMI Design Leadership Conference in Boston earlier this month.

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