In early February, General Electric invited American creators to share their groundbreaking ideas with the world in celebration of National Inventor’s Day that coincided with the greatest U.S. inventor, Thomas Edison’s, birthday on February 11. The company teamed up with the BuzzFeed website and launched a social-media campaign #IWantToInvent on Twitter to collected revolutionary ideas submitted by public.
As part of the project, GE released a plethora of blueprints with the user-generated concepts.
Creative minds across the country were invited to tweet their invention ideas using the hashtag #IWantToInvent. The best submissions were prototyped, and then the concept images were unveiled for the public view over the course of the day. The project engaged around 250 people and there were more than 70 professional blueprint sketches created. The initiative could be potentially joined by anyone, but since it celebrated the U.S. national holiday, Americans were the target audience.
Pic.: #IWantToInvent blueprint for “Transcontinental underground tunnel” (click to enlarge), www.facebook.com/GE
The list of suggested innovations that can be viewed on GE’s Facebook page included “Transcontinental underground tunnel,” “Invisibility suit,” “Dog Translator,” “Portable vending machines,” and many more. The blueprints featured the sketch itself along with the name of the inventor plus the “#IWantToInvent” hashtag.
The project was backed by popular web personas such as DIY geek Ben Heck (“In-home, safe, automatic soda can crusher”) as well as BuzzFeed’s EVP of video content Ze Frank (he submitted “The Buzzkill” idea). Frank also created a humorous documentary clip about the spirit of innovation.
For GE, the day of February 11 is a perfect opportunity to remind of itself and celebrate its core values and philosophy. “While Inventors’ Day was a holiday of sorts, it certainly wasn’t a Super Bowl-sized event, which is why we saw it as a unique opportunity for our brand. We believe that brands should identify days that are important to their audience rather than waiting for prime time events to participate,” commented Jon Lombardo, head of GE’s social media center of excellence. The new initiative is part of GE’s broader “Imagination at Work” platform as well as the TV and digital campaign “Brilliant Machines,” which is now rolling out across the USA.
Pic.: #IWantToInvent blueprint for “Smart barriers” (click to enlarge), www.facebook.com/GE
Pic.: #IWantToInvent blueprint for “Edible cupcake liners” (click to enlarge), www.facebook.com/GE