How GE Learned to Think Small (and Serve the Poor)

Mar 3, 2011 2:00 PM ET

How GE learned to think small (and help the poor) - A Blog Post by Marc Gunther

GE is good at big: It makes big wind turbines, big jet engines, big locomotives. These businesses require lots of technology, they have high barriers to entry, and they are capital intensive.

But to generate growth in emerging economies, which have fewer resources, GE is learning to think small.   Recently, the global manufacturing giant (2010 revenues: $149 billion) gave its imprimatur to the Sunspring, a small, solar-powered, water purification machine that serves the global poor, costs just $25,000 and was invented by a self-taught engineer who owns a small business in small-town Colorado.   Interestingly, it was not just the business of GE that made the connection to Jack Barker, the 48-year-old inventor of the Sunspring, but the GE Foundation, which last year asked him to help with disaster relief in Haiti. It’s an example of how the company’s charitable endeavors can have an unexpected payback.   Click here to continue reading...   About GE
GE (NYSE: GE) is an advanced technology, services and finance company taking on the world’s toughest challenges. Dedicated to innovation in energy, health, transportation and infrastructure, GE operates in more than 100 countries and employs about 300,000 people worldwide. For more information, visit the company's Web site at   Citizenship at GE is more than a program or a set of good intentions - it is a full-time commitment built upon cultural behaviors and actions. These actions are integrated with business strategy and have defined goals, strategies and metrics that make it actionable and accountable. Citizenship Web site at   GE12160