Charting a Commercialization Roadmap for Emerging Technology
GE pioneers advanced robotics innovation with the help of an independent expert.
General Electric Company
Digital Industrial

Market Analysis

Since Thomas Edison’s landmark invention of the light bulb, General Electric has propelled American industry and global innovation. The company of 333,000 employees impacts every aspect of communities from heating homes to building commercial jets and saving lives with medical technology.

The uniting ethos behind GE’s network of subsidiaries is a sense of forward progress propelled by technological innovation. Although every team on GE is built around these values, one internal group pushes the organization toward the next frontier for these new inventions.

The Global Research Center and Market Development Group directs seven global laboratories throughout the world from their headquarters in Niskayuna, NY. R&D leaders identify nascent markets where GE can have an outsized impact, and their experts apply scientific inquiry and business analysis to tackle the most pressing issues with emerging technology.

Last year, GE’s leaders recognized one market as an absolute priority for their group: robotics. By 2019, the robotics industry is expected to expand to a $135.4 billion market. The technology will revolutionize the way we work and live; it’s poised to transform both B2B and B2C markets.

Because advanced robotics is such a high-visibility market with large implications for GE’s future, the leadership team wanted to bring in a subject-matter expert who would ensure a positive outcome for R&D initiatives.

Relying solely on internal talent meant limiting the depth of analysis to the bandwidth of current team members. This project was so crucial, it needed a comprehensive assessment. Since robotics is a fast-moving industry, agility was also priority — the R&D team needed to move quickly to increase the chances of beating competitors to the market.

Given these factors, leaders wanted to hire a robotics expert who could temporarily integrate into the team, conduct a deep technological analysis, and lay the foundation for a commercialization roadmap that would guide product development moving forward.

Within 48 hours of posting the project on Catalant’s on-demand workforce management system, GE received multiple proposals from expert candidates. John’s profile stood out because of a hybrid skill set that mirrored GE’s approach to technological innovation.

“John’s profile was simply too strong to pass up. His deep domain expertise combined with meaningful business experience was exactly what we were looking for.”

As an independent expert, he could leverage a Wharton MBA and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering with an emphasis on robotics. From the kick-off call, John seamlessly integrated these two disciplines to develop a methodology for the market analysis of robotics.

Working collaboratively with the team, he assessed the the market size for three distinct robotics solutions and made business recommendations for the products that would resonate in the market. John managed to stay agile, working with speed and diligence to conduct the analysis within the allotted time frame and budget.

John’s final deliverables empowered the Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Technology for Global Research to confidently invest in product development with a deepened understanding of its future positioning in the market. By tapping an external expert, GE’s leaders ensured that this high-visibility project received the skillful analysis that would chart a successful path for the company’s future.

“John’s thinking was the core component of our proposal, since he was really the subject matter expert…It was hugely helpful to get John’s business perspective in addition to the analysis. It caused us to challenge some of our assumptions and he surfaced some great new ideas.”