GE has been on the cutting edge of innovation since their founder Thomas Edison flipped the switch for his electric light bulb more than 125 years ago. From hybrid locomotives that reduce emission output by as much as 50% to HD CT Scanners that work 100 times faster and reduce radiation exposure by half, GE consistently delivers on its promise to “bring good things to life.” But keeping innovation a top priority at a 300,000-employee behemoth like GE is in itself a problem that requires an innovative solution. To address that, last year GE announced the hiring of Dartmouth strategy expert Vijay Govindarajan to serve as an in-house innovation czar.
“VG [as he is known] will be like a professor with office hours,” says Susan Peters, GE vice president of worldwide executive development. “He’ll be available to both individuals and business teams to talk about projects and ideas either by phone or by going out to see our various business units. We’ll get a hundred days from him this year.”
VG is excited about his new gig and is quick to point out the role large companies should play in making significant changes. “People believe that it is only small companies that can be nimble enough to innovate,” says Govindarajan. “But I believe that it is the role of large companies like GE to solve big, complex problems that will make a huge difference to humanity.”