GE spends $1 billion per year on teaching employees new skills, and billions more on innovation. Now the company is taking training and technology development on the road, in style.
GE launched GE Garages at SXSW Interactive, a hip and high-profile technology incubation gathering in Austin, Texas, on Thursday. A GE Garage is a tinkerer’s paradise. It’s a high-concept, hands-on lab loaded with laser cutters, 3D printers, injection molders, metal inert gas welders, computer numeric control mills and other high-tech tools. SXSW’ers and locals alike have been flocking to the Garages to weld, build, make and invent.
GE Garages, which are part of the company’s GE Works effort, were created by the New York design studio Sub Rosa. Anyone is welcome to drop in and invent, design and build their ideas. GE and advanced manufacturing experts such as MakerBot Industries’ Keith Ozar will provide advice and guidance. Other partners include the online teaching marketplace Skillshare, and idea developers TechShop, Quirky, Make, and Inventables, which serve as manufacturing labs for technologists, entrepreneurs, and ordinary Americans brimming with bright ideas.
GE also set up some quick projects for visitors. The online social media guide Mashable said that guests can use an injection molder to make an iPhone case customized for the mobile payment device Square, weld a bike rack for the City of Austin, or personalize their mobile gadgets .
GE Garages will stay in Austin until March 18. They are located on the corner or 4th and Guadalupe Streets and open daily from noon until 6pm. They will then travel to Houston and San Francisco. They will move to their permanent home in Houston and Cincinnati in the second half of the year.