Beth Comstock: The Next Industrial Revolution

"What we've seen change so far is nothing compared to what we're about to see," says Beth Comstock at IdeaFestival 2013. Comstock, currently the Chief Marketing Officer at GE, has been the creative force behind marketing some big initiatives at NBC, CBS, and even helped with the formation of Hulu.

Comstock is referring to the "meshing of two worlds," software and hardware, and how that's going to bring about a "next industrial revolution." 3-D printing, she says, is opening doors, "making things that were previously unimaginable." The "industrial internet," connecting machines, has huge economic implications -- it means that "a machine doesn't need service. It can get a software upgrade anywhere in the world."

Businesses, Comstock says, care more about being socially responsible, and "need more creative brains," even though they're "scared of them. They just don't know what to do with them."

She discusses the power of "open challenges," or a " for creative ideas." It's kind of like crowdsourcing for innovation. Can we design sleeker, lighter products? Can we help save airlines money by trimming time off of a plane's descent? "People want to be part of a challenge that helps mankind."

"When you have this global brain," Comstock says, "it's about giving inventors the ability to access intellect in new ways." It's the idea of "industry improv."

"What it means for all of us," Comstock says, is that "the future of data is going to change."

#IF13 #staycurious @ideafestival

Hope Reese
Writer, Editor, and IF Radio Host

Image: Meagan Jordan