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Vijay Govindarajan will drive GE’s innovation push

by praveen
September 29th, 2007

It’s another feather in the cap of Indian academia. Vijay Govindrajan, the Earl C Daum 1924 Professor of International Business at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, will soon join General Electric (GE) as professor in Residence and Chif Innovation agenda.

Indian academicians are among the most sought after business brain in the West.
Already people like Govindarajan, Ram Charan and CK Prahalad are advising several Fortune-500 companies Incidentally, all three of them have made it to the Thinkers 50, an annul ranking of the Top-50 business and management thought leaders.

Says Govindarajan: “My area of expertise is how to create breakthrough businesses, while managing the current business. And this is what I will do at GE as well.” This was also a theme that Govindarahan addressed in the bestselling book ’10 Rules for strategic Innovators’ (co-authored with Chris Trimble).

Jeffery Immelt has been pushing innovation at GE ever since he took over in 2001. The idea is to grow though organic innovation insted of just acquiring companies. GE has identified six areas to infrastruture, demographics, emerging markets, digital technologies and financial liquidity. Each of these business present tremendous opportunities to create break through businesses, says Govindarajan. For instance3, demographic changes are leading to a huge healthcare needs in the coming 50 years.
This means GE needs to identify these needs now and see how it can address them through its diagonostics business.

This is the first time GE has created the position of chief innovation consultant. Govindarajan will perform three roles during his one year stint at the company (he will return to Tuck in 2009): teaching its top 600 executives and teams, consulting on a few innovation projects and consulting to GE executives who want to develop their ideas.

“GE does an extremely good job of integrating what they teach at their development center in Crotonville with actually growth strategy,” says Govindarajan. A lot of the projects he will take on will involve individual GE units all over the world.

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