John Hink, GE Healthcare intelligence leader, presents opening keynote: Fearless corporate cultures, bold leadership facilitate change.

Reimagine. Recreate. Reinvent. Reinvigorate!

The best and brightest competitive intelligence professionals gather in Madison, Wisconsin this week as Aurora WDC invites attendees to network, learn and share the latest news and innovations in the intelligence industry during their annual leadership symposium.

This year’s theme of “Invention and Reinvention” was kicked off with great impact as John Hink of GE Healthcare presented the opening keynote, “Priorities in Organizational Reinvention.” His thought provoking message inspires participants to welcome change as he spoke on GE’s rich history as a successful innovator.

Specifically, his remarks addressed “Reinvention—Digital Disruption and Innovation.”

GE is currently undergoing its fourth “industrial revolution” and provides great illustration of a company meeting success with its forward thinking mission and vision.

Disruption occurs when a value chain is reengineered or made obsolete, says Hink. One example is that of Uber, another is Tesla: Tesla’s market cap surpassed Ford’s in early 2017. All companies need to be on the lookout for potential disruption. GE provides example of an organization poised to not only respond to disruption, but make strides as its response to change prompts innovation.

“Your major competitor in 10 years—if you survive that long, probably does not exist today,” says Hink in quoting one expert. Waves of digital disruption are evident in a variety of industries: In 1995 it was found in the music, photography, video rental arena. In 2010 and beyond, TV news, travel, and recruitment are notable examples of industries impacted by change.

Digital disruption is now prevalent in the auto, banking, construction, and energy sectors, to name a few. Healthcare, notably, is affected by wearables, notes Hink.

The reality is that every business is now a software business, he says. Even shoe companies get in the game as they sell a fitness experience relying heavily on data and wearables, not just footwear.

Underarmour sportswear has remained relevancy in incorporating a variety of apps, says Hink: 150 million people comprise the user base for Underarmour’s digital health platform, Connected Fitness.

Ninety percent of CEOs believe the digital economy will have a major impact on the industry, but only 25% have a plan in place to address imminent change.

There are three approaches to digital disruption: The “stretch, the fighter, and the pioneer.” Pioneers will step back, reevaluate who the customer is, and determine what it is they want.

GE, as an example, has a rich history of pioneering innovation: Scanning, wind turbines, and others. CeO Jeff Immelt wants a radical transformation of GE, notes Hink, and Immelt knows drastic change of business is required. Immelt wants to see engineers, techies, and kids with big ideas and sharp minds ‘out to change the world’ as creative sources of ideas and inspiration.

GE is “breaking science” as it considers the complicated relationship between humans and machines. Machines formerly connected us, now we are connected to them. The industrial internet, a revolution in technology, starts with sensors attached to other machines to create a new types of equipment.

Sensors use data to optimize assets. Analyzation of data detects errors in equipment and relates such circumstance to employees about the need for improvements–employees know something needs to done “before it is broken.”

One example is that the industrial internet allows machines talk to each other—for instance, airplanes can tell engineers what needs to be repaired before it lands. The industrial internet will add half a trillion dollars to the energy sector and raise incomes by 25%–a major technological innovation.

GE is experiencing their fourth industrial revolution, and it is a digital one, says Hink.

GE is vetting their entire business on the industrial internet. They are evolving by carving out every digital asset, and GE is committed to success. Digital teams are important at GE, and the company builds applications. Evolving digital teams are linked to sales teams.

There are four visions of innovation at GE:

  1. Fear of digital Darwinism (fear of obsolescence drives success)
  2. The future of work is changing (companies look for problem solvers)
  3. ROI is on collaboration is increasing.
  4. It’s all about optimism—there are huge opportunities in all industries surrounding digitalization.

A digital growth engine must have strong leadership behind it; the notion must be ingrained in corporate culture. Executives set high level strategy and execute; therefore, a CEO champion is essential. At GE, data linking capabilities and tools are used for ROI based on measurable outcomes on data derived from the industrial internet.

One question for Hink was, “How does GE move to innovate given its size?” Keeping GE nimble is all about the leadership behind the innovation, notes Hink. Jack Welch, previous CEO, set the tone and culture, employees there are used to and welcome change—fear is not present. For example, review meetings are eliminated to facilitiate new ideas from all levels of the organization, in ongoing spirit of the pioneer mentality.

And, finishes Hink, a humble outlook is important in reinvention.