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Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Reinventing Product Development

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InnovateFirstBuild, GE’s incubator for the next generation of appliances, recently celebrated its first birthday with a new product introduction, the Opal Nugget Ice Maker. This was one of the several products introduced by FirstBuild in their first year of business. The Opal Nugget Ice Maker campaign on Indiegogo has already exceeded its crowdfunding goals by 1000%, suggesting great excitement about the FirstBuild community and excitement from consumers about this product. People participating in FirstBuild’s Indiegogo crowdfunding will receive their Opal Nugget Ice Makers in July of 2016. 

GE Appliances initiated FirstBuild to speed up the development of the next generation of home appliances without being hindered by the costs and risks of traditional mass manufacturing.  Their first year results show that they are indeed succeeding in this objective. 

How do they do it?

FirstBuild partnered with Local Motors (LM) to learn about co-creation best practices, and to use LM’s digital platform for co-creation. They also established a physical state-of-the-art microfactory on the Belknap Campus of the University of Louisville, Kentucky. FirstBuild allows engineers, designers, cooking, and home enthusiasts from around the world to identify market needs and openly participate in their product development. Creators from anywhere can observe and participate as ideas become challenges, projects, and products. Anyone can come to FirstBuild’s physical microfactory to work on projects of their own or to collaborate with the FirstBuild team. The most viable products will move to small scale production. The most popular products have the potential of scaling up to mass production by GE Appliances.

In this new era of accelerated innovation with smart and connected products, every company has to rethink their approach to innovation and product development. FirstBuild is a great example of how an established company is venturing into an entrepreneurial approach to product development.

Want to learn more?

Taylor Dawson, Product Evangelist at FirstBuild, will make a keynote presentation at CIMdata’s workshop on the New Age of Collaboration, Innovation, and Product Development. The workshop will take place in Louisville, Kentucky on October 7-8. The workshop will also feature presentations from Local Motors and BASF Corporation and will include a tour of the FirstBuild Microfactory.

For more information about this workshop, and to register, please visit:

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