GE uses crowd sourcing to improve rotary handle design

Source: GE

Oct 16, 2014

GE’s Industrial Solutions business announced five winners of its crowd-sourced rotary handle design competition for its new portfolio of molded case circuit breakers (MCCBs) to be launched in 2015. GE is employing fundamentally different approaches to new product development. As a result, it will introduce this state-of-the-art circuit breaker platform in half the time of its previous product launches. Factors from the five winning ergonomic designs will be incorporated into this key accessory for GE’s MCCBs.

Winners of the open-innovation challenge come from around the world and raised very distinctive designs, each with elements that will support delivering a customer-centric rotary handle for GE’s new circuit breakers. The five winners are Olaf Barski of  Barski Design GmbH (Frankfurt, Hessen, Germany), Tom Goddu of  Blazing Pencils LLC (Pine Meadow, Connecticut), Sandy Richardson of  Design Edge (Belrose, New South Wales, Australia), R. Roopnarine of Long Road Enterprises (New York) and Giulio Ceppi of  Total Tool srl (Milan). Each winner will receive $10,000—along with substantial bragging rights—for his innovative design.

For the challenge, GE worked with NineSigma to invite inventors everywhere to help solve an ergonomic rotary handle design challenge for its molded case circuit breakers and find new solutions, knowledge and designers to accelerate its innovation cycle.

By opening up the design process, GE was able to leverage and invest in new ideas from engineers, designers and architects with immense and varied industry backgrounds, most of whom bring more than 20 years of experience to the drawing board.

The winners agree open collaboration for design creates a competitively beneficial climate, resulting in more thoughtful, practical and customer-focused product outcomes.

The decision to incorporate a rotary handle comes from global user feedback, which suggests a shift in circuit-breaker handle styles is desired and preferred. The ideas shared in this challenge will help GE to improve the user experience of the hardware interface on its soon-to-be-released circuit breakers. The designs and specifications that were ultimately chosen as winners not only meet modern aesthetic preferences, but also will improve operational performance and ease of use for operators.