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Living and working close to Silicon Valley, Lauren Schutte, marketing program manager of the software developer community IoT at GE Digital, knows all about speed. “Things move really quickly here,” she says, and two years—the length of her time at GE so far—is considered long in the tech world. But she’s packed that time with creating and mounting hugely successful events for developers, including workshops, meet-ups and hackathons, while supporting developers and users of the Predix platform in a host of other ways.

Not long after joining GE, Lauren learned about GE’s Ecomagination strategy and the impact it was making for our customers and the world. She saw inherent alignment with digital solutions, and that partnering with Ecomagination on hackathons could be an advantage to attract developers and advocate strategies that yield both operational and environmental benefits. With the common goal of furthering the company’s digital transformation, the two teams joining forces was natural.

“For us, ‘Ecomagination’ is part of every digital decision,” Lauren says, “because Predix is about predictive maintenance and analytics, and you can’t have predictive modelling without paying attention to efficiency and sustainability—and economics. They’re all interwoven.” At the end of the day, she notes, it’s about survival and speed. “If companies aren’t building apps and thinking about scalable things like economic growth plus global and environmental impact, they’re not going to get very far in today’s world; someone else will develop a product that includes all those aspects and that performs well.”

One of Lauren’s recent projects reflects how engaging developers and customers in GE’s Ecomagination mission is accelerating the development of the Industrial Internet. This past June, she organized more than 100 developers in Berlin for a 48-hour hackathon at Minds + Machines. The objective was to give developers industry-specific data to build apps on Predix aimed at decarbonizing Europe through grid modernization and advanced manufacturing. Customers looking for new ways to meet their own objectives to drive decarbonization of the electric sector contributed several rich data sets and engaging challenge statements, partners were eager to contribute devices that could be used in these solutions, and developers were excited to take on these sorts of challenges. Lauren and her team are partnering with Ecomagination once again for the October Minds + Machines Appathon.

The developers from the Berlin event, Lauren explains, were able to work with datasets they hadn’t been able to access before, “giving them the experience of a hands-on, real-world problem, that has real data they can manipulate to create something really beneficial.” It’s this outcome, she says, that so many developers want. “Honestly,” she comments, “I think that developers at large want challenges that will change the world, to build apps that could scale to an entire world solution. We got feedback from Berlin that said, ‘I’ve never worked on a challenge so real before.’ Developers want real industrial challenges where the impact is further out than just that day or just a single city. That’s exciting to them.”

This has stuck with Lauren, and it reflects her own excitement. She says, “I love doing hackathons and developer innovations, because it scales so much further than just those events. It’s so inspiring to see the final solutions, especially in partnership with Ecomagination, that are global. They’re economically friendly. They’re environmentally friendly. And people leave feeling like they’ve made an impact on the world.”

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