When it comes to the economy, the world — particularly now — could use some good, new ideas. But is a general — as in one of American industry’s five — where the country should look?
One general, General Electric (GE), in partnership with Atlantic Media’s creative agency Think Custom Media, is stepping forward with a new platform to gather and distribute new ideas on “some of today’s most pressing issues.” On Tuesday, the two companies announced Ideas Lab, a collection of debates between and writings supplied by political, economic and policy experts as well as former policymakers (note the “former”). Their work is slated to appear alongside original data and analysis on key economic issues.
When you first visit IdeasLab, a welcome message describes it as “A place to convene. A place to discuss. A place for ideas.” But what about implementation? When asked how the site planned to address the gap between idea generation and action, GE Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs Gary Sheffer said, via e-mail Tuesday: “We hope that everyone will be able to test his or her ideas against others and come away with an increasingly informed perspective. That can only help turn ideas into action.”
GE isn’t the first organization to establish an Ideas Lab. The World Economic Forum launched its Ideas Lab last summer (disclosure: I’m a member of the Forum’s Global Shapers community), while companies such as Cisco, Intel and Microsoft, among others, have sponsored an Australia-based Ideas Lab focused on education.
The first contributors to GE’s Ideas Lab are the New America Foundation’s Michael Lind and the American Enterprise Institute and CNBC’s James Pathokoukis. The authors offer a somewhat predictable point-counter point on the future of U.S. manufacturing.
Ideas Lab will be edited by Think Custom Media’s Jamie Tarabay, an editor at the agency and formerly managing editor of National Journal.
As for whether GE would be implementing any of the private-sector-oriented ideas proposed in its new lab, Sheffer wrote, “I wouldn’t rule it out.”
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