Online community helps identify products to market
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (July 24, 2014) — From the color of appliances to personalized features, consumers want the ability to customize the everyday products they use to suit their individual lifestyle needs. Through the GE FirstBuild Microfactory, which officially opened today in Louisville, Ky., online and local community members can design products and help solve engineering challenges that will fast-track community-driven innovation to market.
Until now, customization and speed to market presented challenges for mass appliance manufacturers like GE Appliances, the parent company of FirstBuild. Today’s opening of the FirstBuild Microfactory will not only enable customization through small-batch production, but will help get these products to market faster than ever before without the cost and risk of traditional mass manufacturing.
“Partnering with a global co-creation community and using micromanufacturing to develop new products are unprecedented in the appliance industry. There certainly isn’t a ‘how to’ guide for us to follow,” said Kevin Nolan, GE Appliances’ vice president of technology. “Shifting to a market and community-driven innovation strategy will help determine which products we reserve for customization and which are appropriate to transfer to our larger-scale production facilities.”
At the FirstBuild Microfactory grand opening event today in Louisville, community-driven innovation became a reality and new products were unveiled that will soon go into production and will be sold on firstbuild.com. In the coming months, consumers can buy products that were either developed by the FirstBuild online community and/or made by hand in the FirstBuild Microfactory.
The opening of the FirstBuild Microfactory follows a recent announcement that GE partnered with Local Motors, the open-source hardware innovator, to launch a new model for the manufacturing industry, which pairs co-creation and micromanufacturing with a focus on speeding the time from mind to market. The partnership leverages advanced manufacturing processes and an open innovation approach to engineering—delivering benefits for consumers and enterprise alike.
Most recently, MakerBot and TechShop have partnered with FirstBuild. These alliances, and others to come, will change the way companies design, make and sell products. Click here to learn more about how these companies plan to work together visit:
FirstBuild.com community members will submit ideas, vote on which concepts become challenges or projects, and determine which products move on to production. Prizes and sales royalties will be awarded to community members who make significant contributions.