GE keeps …

GE keeps innovation under control
Francesco Guerrera General Electric`s Global Research Centre covers 550 acres, employs 1,000 PhDs, and has $500m a year in funding. GE`s scientists have to develop new products for one of the world`s largest companies, with interests ranging from jet engines and nuclear power stations to microwave ovens and wind turbines. The research centre`s past achievements remind companies they need to keep innovating in order to keep growing. The light bulb, lasers and special glass for optical lenses were all historical breakthroughs when GE researchers developed them. Today, consumers and producers take them for granted. With globalization and the emergence of low-cost manufacturing in Asia and elsewhere, companies around the world have discovered that growth only comes from selling better, more advanced products. Thomas Edison, one of GE`s forefathers, would have been proud: a GE research project for jet fighters resulted in an invention which revolutionized the way doctors recognize illnesses. During the 1980s, scientists at GE`s global research centre were looking at ways to improve aircraft controls used by aircraft pilots. Years later, one scientist, who had also worked in a related medical programme, suggested applying the technology to X-rays. By the mid-1990s, GE was studying «digital X-rays», which give a more accurate view of organs and bones than was previously possible. In 2000, the company began marketing the first digital X-ray machine. The technology is currently used in less than 10 per cent of the one million radiology procedures done every day, but GE believes that it will eventually replace traditional equipment. GE belives more of its inventions will find uses outside their intended sectors.

GE keeps innovation under control

Vocabulary notes
generate v — порождать, производить , генерировать
working out n. – разработка, решение
puzzle n. – загадка, головоломка, затруднение
in-house adj. – внутренний, штатный
innovative adj. – новаторский, передовой, рационализаторский
start-up n. –начинающий дело бизнесмен, запуск
campus n. - университетский или школьный двор, городок
decade n. – десятка, десятилетие, десятидневка
summarise v. – подвести итог
surgeon n. – хирург
surgical adj. – хирургический
entire adj. – весь, цельный
approach n. – подход
toolkit n. – набор инструментов
supply v. – снабжать, поставлять, предоставлять
revolutionise v. - реконструировать
expertise n — экспертиза, опытность, деловой опыт
Useful expressions:
corporate research laboratories - корпоративные научно-исследовательские лаборатории
university campus - университетский городок
to shape new products - разрабатывать новые продукты
Democratizing Innovation - «Демократизируя Инновацию»
flow of ideas – поток идей
to be mass-produced (by smth) – выпускаться серийно
to be led towards – вестись к
the division of labour – разделение труда
Give Russian equivalents to these expressions:
to do extreme sports –
to play a significant role –
to develop commercial products –
to enjoy market share –
to revolutionise the traditional division of labour –
Give the three forms to the verbs:
Spend, come, say, lead, find, read, sell, build, do
To pronounce the words properly give transcription to the following words:
research [ process [
laboratory [ equipment
Innovative [ expertise [surgical [ surgeon [
summarisetowards [
revolutionise fragrance
сampus [ decade [ approach [
Choose sentences for discussion:
Breakthrough products and processes can come from start-ups, competitors, university campuses and employees.
The role played by customers in shaping new products is significant and deserves attention.
Products developed with the help of customers often enjoy higher market share and have greater potential to develop into an entire product line.
The toolkits approach has been used by companies including International Flavors & Fragrances, which supplies customers with the tools to design their own food flavors.
Product development is left to users who are, of course, in the best position to know exactly what they want.
Where innovation comes from and how value gets created are heavy questions for all companies in all industries.
No innovation means no profit.
Democratizing Innovation shows that the flow of ideas and expertise is more complex. Value is often "co-created" by producer and consumer.
Find paragraphs where it is said:
а) about possible sources of ideas
б) means companies use to stimulate the development of ideas
Put questions to the sentences:
Breakthrough products and processes can come from consumers.
Surgeons helped to develop surgical equipment.
Answer the following questions to the text:
What is the article about?
Where can innovative products and processes come from?
3. Who is Eric von Hippel? And what did he study within three decades?
4. What is the name of his book and what is it about?
5. What other means do companies use to develop their products?
Retell the article using the following expressions:
The article is entitled “How ordinary people generate great ideas”.
The author of the article is Simon London.
The article was published in the Financial Times.
The article is about …
The aim of the article is to show that …
The author gives some examples …
Speaking about …the author shows …
At the end of the article …
6. I didn’t know about … but after I have read the article I have learned that …
Here are the possible answers but your answers are appreciated too:
…the role the customers play in shaping new products.
… the flow of ideas is very complex and that the role of consumers in product development can be significant in some way.
… to show how companies try to involve consumers in the process of product development.
… Democratizing Innovation the author shows that Eric von Hippel has spent three decades studying the role of customers in shaping new products and has found that these products enjoy higher market share, have greater potential to develop into an entire product line.
… the author draws a conclusion that the traditional division of labour between producers and consumers gradually disappears.

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