I have to confess that when I think about GE, the first thing that comes to mind isn’t radical innovation. But, as usual, I might be wrong. As GE’s Chief Marketing Officer, Beth Comstock, told me when we met at The Economist‘s stimulating Innovation event last week, GE is actually totally committed to creating radically new structures of organization. As what Comstock calls the “world’s oldest start-up,” the 130 year-old company has the scale, she says, to be both nimble and agile. Indeed, she even boasts of GE doing away with traditional organizational hierarchy in some of its many manufacturing businesses so that it can generate more innovation.
But why should TechCrunch readers care about GE? According to Comstock, partnership is a “big theme” and GE is not only committed to working with high-tech startups in everything from healthcare to education, but also into embracing the Internet. Paradoxically, then, it may be America’s oldest companies like GE which are most suited to pivoting and pirouetting amidst the creative destruction of our innovation economy.