A Local Motors Rally Fighter
This partnership between such big names will pair both co-creation with micromanufacturing to build and commercialise the next generation of various GE products.
The scheme is centred around speeding up the time it takes to take a concept "from mind to market" and will leverage advanced manufacturing processes and an open innovation approach to engineering, benefiting consumers and enterprises.
GE's work alongside Local Motors will see collaborative ideas sourced from a digital community of engineers, fabricators, designers, enthusiasts and scientists solving deep engineering challenges "to unlock breakthrough product innovations".
Executive Director of Global Innovation at GE Steve Liguori said: "At GE over the past years, we’ve redefined our approach to innovation, focusing on research and development as well as co-creation, open collaboration and partnership, which has allowed us to engage new audiences and develop a following across various industry sectors.
"Today, a new era of manufacturing is dawning -and with Local Motors, we are pioneering the future of work, fast tracking a new model for the manufacturing industry and improving and expanding GE’s product offering to better meet future customer needs."
Part of the partnership will be a new microfactory specialising in prorotyping and small production runs at speed, which will be established where community ideas will be built, tested and marketed.
The open platform FirstBuild will launch officially this summer and will become the home of a global community of innovators to prototype, iterate and refine current GE products, in addition to bringing new designs to the fore. The most popular creations may then be selected for testing and rapid prototyping - and even low volume production - at the microfactory, which will be open to the public.
CEO of Local Motors Jay Rogers stated: "GE has demonstrated impressive leadership in its commitment to advanced manufacturing, lean business principles and the power of the crowd. These three ingredients are critical for building on a rich tradition of innovation.
"Together, Local Motors and GE will provide a powerful platform to discover innovators and, in turn, make revolutionary new products available to consumers. Rapid iteration, rapid development and rapid manufacturing that will make an enduring impression on the world's manufacturing history."
The first set of projects will focus on GE Appliances and the future of cooking, inviting community members to submit and discuss ideas to improve the performance of select major kitchen appliances. The first product is expected to be available to U.S. consumers by late 2014. Looking to the future, GE will evaluate applications of this business model across the company’s other business units. For more information, please visit www.firstbuild.com.