Innovation. General Electric

InnovationBusiness innovation is a broad term referring not only to product or technological innovation but also a state of achieving significant new value for clients, customers, and for the organization through a process of “creatively changing one or more dimensions of the business system” (Sawhney, Wolcott, & Arroniz, 2006, p. 75). General Electric is a leader in innovation and has set the groundwork for other companies to follow their lead. GE considers innovation to be a part of the company’s history, and rightfully so.

Thomas Edison’s first commercially viable light bulb, the first x-ray machine, the first television network, the first jet engine, the first man-made diamond, and even the first walk on the moon are just a few innovations that are a part of the company’s history. GE has led the way in discoveries that have had a tremendous impact on the world. Innovation is also a part of the company’s present and future with recent developments that include the world’s first HD MRI machine and the HD CT scanner, the world’s first 24 cylinder gas engine, the advancement of energy smart LED, and holographic data storage, to name a few (General Electric Company, 2012).

The organization believes in what they call the “Innovation Imperative,” which is the idea that innovation is a central part of company’s success and the only reason to invest in the company’s future. GE is currently pursuing about 100 “imagination breakthrough” projects aimed at driving growth through use of innovation (Sawhney et al., 2006).

The function of management that has the most impact on innovation is the planning function. Today’s managers are increasingly involved in the strategy formation process within their organization. The rapidly changing business environment calls for an increase in innovation to meet the ever-changing demands of customers (Bateman & Snell, 2011).


Bateman, T. S., & Snell, S. A. (2011). Management: Leading and collaborating in a competitive world (9th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Irwin.

General Electric Company. (2012). GE Innovation Timeline. Retrieved from

Sawhney, M., Wolcott, R. C., & Arroniz, I. (2006). The 12 Different Ways for Companies to Innovate. MIT Sloan Management Review, 47(3), 75-81. Retrieved March 3, 2012, from