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The GE Brief — January 21, 2020

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January 21, 2020


Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and Tanya Spencer was planning to think deeply about the late civil rights leader. “For me, and I think for a lot of people, it’s a time to reflect on what it took to be that face, what it took to go to jail for the cause, the toll that it took on your family,” she said. “I ask myself, am I living up to that legacy?” One way in which Spencer gives back is through her job at GE, where she’s worked for 25 years: She’s the co-lead of the African American Forum, founded nearly 30 years ago by, among others, legendary GE executive Lloyd Trotter. Demonstrating the importance of having a solid network, it was Trotter who gave Spencer an important break early in her career: “He gave me a chance to get in front of people and to show what I could do,” she said.

The global view: Now Spencer and her AAF co-lead, Shawn Warren, continue to pay it forward. The network offers GE employees informal chances to get feedback on their leadership skills as well as formal mentoring, and it gets them out into the community: The AAF also emphasizes service projects like dinners for homeless residents and charity walks. This year, Spencer sees MLK Day as a chance to talk about how GE can promote inclusion and diversity beyond the borders of the U.S. In Africa, for instance, a philanthropic project sponsored by the AAF and the GE Foundation is aiming to improve health outcomes in underserved areas.

Learn more here about GE’s African American Forum.



Today’s passenger jets don’t just carry human travelers — they’re also vehicles for generating endless streams of data that can be collected, crunched and analyzed to optimize airline operations in the future. GE Aviation’s mobile app FlightPulse, for instance, connects pilots with their own flying metrics and trends, letting them evaluate each flight after landing. The Dubai-based carrier Emirates announced recently that it’s expanding the digital capabilities of its fleet with FlightPulse and with the GE Aviation platform called electronic Flight Operations Quality Assurance, or eFOQA — which will give the airline an even broader perspective.

Engine of the information age: By analyzing thousands of routinely recorded flight data parameters, eFOQA quickly identifies the most salient bits. It enriches that information with third-party data sources to paint a full picture, giving analysts the ability to drill down to root causes of any issue. Emirates is already using GE’s Analytics Based Maintenance software, or ABM, which collects information from sensors to monitor engine health. Results have been positive: With ABM, Emirates has reduced unscheduled engine maintenance by 50% and increased engine “time on wing” by 20%. “This has made our engine maintenance program more stable and predictable,” said Emirates’ Ahmed Safa.

Learn more here about operating an airline with the help of data analytics.



World leaders are in Davos this week for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. There’s quite a bit on the agenda at a gathering where the theme, this year, is “Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World” — in crucial ways, the world seems to be struggling with cohesion and sustainability. But Rachel Duan, the president and CEO of GE Global Growth Organization, has come out with some ideas that might help point leaders in the right direction: namely, partnerships and interdependence. Such forces might be a “powerful counterweight,” Duan writes on the WEF website, “to the fracturing forces of nationalism and isolationism.”

Links in the chain: Take the Pakistani province of Punjab. That’s where, in three separate towns, thousands of people from more than 35 countries came together in 2017 and 2018 to construct three power plants, which provide 3,600 megawatts of electricity to the national grid. They could also provide a lesson, writes Duan, in working together: “Consider all the relationships built over that time, as people worked together — both on the ground in Pakistan and remotely. Meeting around hot cups of tea or huddled over phone speakers, they collaborated across borders and time zones, national frontiers, language barriers and corporate cultures — and resolved issues, solved engineering challenges, and hastened progress. Now, imagine this project multiplied thousands of times around the world. You can almost visualize the web of human connections and shared purpose.”

Want to keep imagining? Read the full article by Rachel Duan here.



1. Blob The Builder

Engineers at the University of Colorado Boulder marshaled “some of the tiniest contractors out there” into a new kind of building material: microorganisms. They could help make construction more sustainable.

2. Mushroom For Mars

If microbes aren’t your thing, NASA is researching “myco-architecture” — the possibility of using fungus to grow buildings to house astronauts on the moon or Mars.

3. A-Salting Cancer Cells

At the University of Georgia, scientists developed a technique for using nanoparticles of sodium chloride — aka salt — to destroy tumor cells.

Read more here about this week’s Coolest Things on Earth.



How do we make this the place where everyone feels their voice is heard, that their opinions and expertise are included, and that they have an equal opportunity to grow, learn, develop and thrive within the company?”

Tanya Spencer, Accelerated Leadership Program manager at GE Power


Quote: GE Reports.

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