Students Take On Innovative Project with GE Lighting; Winning Teams Earn Scholarships
With the new year came new regulations from the federal government requiring manufacturers to produce higher efficiency lighting products. GE Lighting (GE) has been a leader in the lighting business since incandescent technology was developed and is working on what the future “intelligent” bulb should look like and what it can be capable of doing. As part of its planning and developing process, GE came to BGSU’s College of Business during the fall semester to work with the senior-level Applied Business Experience (BizX 4000) lab course to offer students an opportunity to gain insights on how a successful company develops concepts for the capabilities of intelligent light bulbs, as well as markets them to consumers. Since the Millennials (those born primarily in the 1980’s and 1990’s) will be the future consumers of these higher efficiency lighting products, GE was interested in finding out what young people want in “the next big thing” in light bulbs.
BizX students spent fall semester surveying their peers and developing reports that described innovative new light bulbs, the cost to produce the bulbs, and the marketing plans. GE Lighting executives reviewed their reports and selected the best four group reports. In December, students of these groups presented their findings to five executives from GE, four of whom are BGSU alumni. The executives included Steven Briggs, GM, Global Product Management; Mike McVeigh, ERP Process Leader; John Villanueva, GM, Digital Marketing; Amos Shindika, Finance Manager – Supply Chain; and Roland Rolle, Product Manager. The teams were evaluated on organization, professional appearance, analysis and justification, persuasiveness of recommendation, and communication and delivery criteria.
After hearing the presentations, the five GE representatives chose the team composed of Mike Harmon, Joe Budynkiewicz, Stacie Heitmeyer, and Jordan Hammond. This team suggested a product called “GE Spectrum,” a two-piece light bulb, a base separate from the bulb to provide customers with options. The GE Spectrum would give a “basic” economy option with the ability to provide Wi-Fi, on-off cycles, and temperature controls. The next level up, customers would add a sensing element such as a smoke detector and carbon monoxide detection with premium options offering all of these elements, plus color changing abilities for healthier lifestyles.
GE awarded the top team with a $1,500 scholarship, the second place team a $1,000 scholarship, and the third team a $500 scholarship.
The GE executives said this collaborative project with the BizX classes was a good experience and would like to do it again.
“We were really impressed with how quickly the students picked up on the trends and what is possible with LED technology. The teams provoked some interesting thoughts on what features consumers might want to see from a GE intelligent light bulb. We were equally impressed with their presentation of ideas and final reports. The whole experience was a win-win for GE and Bowling Green,” stated Steve Briggs, GE Global Product Management leader.