GE dye dispenser
GE Healthcare sells $15 billion a year worth of big X-ray machines, CAT scans, and ultrasound testing equipment. The healthcare division of General Electric (GE ) usually differentiates its products by getting better and faster readings from its instruments—”feeds and speeds,” as Lou Lenzi, the general manager of global design at GE Healthcare, puts it.

But to compete today, GE needs to focus on the human side of the equation, from ergonomics to emotions. And it needs to do that for cultures all around the world. For insight and inspiration, GE Healthcare recently turned to the undergraduate students of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., one of the world’s top design schools. Consumer-product companies have long sponsored classes at Art Center, but this marked the first time GE Healthcare turned to students for ideas.

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