Friday, August 18, 2006

Google's 9 principles of innovation

Business management guru, Peter Drucker said, "Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship -- the act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth".

Certainly in the age of the Web, few organizations can, in good conscience, call themselves drivers of innovation. Google is one of them. Marissa Mayer, Google Vice President, Search Products & User Experience, said the company operates nine principles around which innovation flourishes within the company.

At Google, everyone is expected to bring in ideas (regardless of who you are within the organization), including customers or users. Ideas come from all sorts of inspirations. Mayer promotes the belief that ideas come from everywhere and it is by the sifting through of the many ideas that pervades us, do we find nuggets worth their weight in gold.

Google thrives in the philosophy of sharing everything you can. When everything is accessible to everyone within the organization, it empowers people to do the best they can. This promotes the creation of new ideas that can be further shared within the organization. When you become consumed with trying to get credit for things you create, you lose the time to develop new ideas.

Google competes with the best companies to hire the creme de la creme. Mayer believes that working in a challenging environment creates an opportunity for you to excel in what you do, and even discover new ways of thinking. With a poster that says "Hiring brilliant minds" it may seem impossible for anyone but the most brilliant to ever land a job at Google, but you'll never know until you try. Brilliance is not limited to mathematically adept engineers and programmers. Some of the most brilliant minds are creative thinkers first and foremost.

Google gives everyone the license to pursue dreams. What this means is that employees are given the time to pursue what they really want. Giving smart people the right tools creates an environment that encourages innovation.

Mayer believes that innovation is not instant perfection. As new ideas get launched, they undergo extensive and continuous review process. The result is an interactive lifecycle to the idea.

At Google all ideas go through a Marissa Gauntlet. New features are digitally projected onto the right side of a conference room wall. Commentaries are transcribed on the left. Tying the two together is a digital timer. Everyone gets 10 minutes during which time Mayer and her team add and subtract to the feature as time runs down.

While the company believes in the creation and nurturing of ideas, personal likes and dislikes do not form a factor in the decision-making process. Under the principle of data is apolitical, numbers will dictate the progress of an idea within the organization.

Pressure is a constant at Google. Limitations are purposely placed in front of new ideas, not to stifle it, but to allow for creativity and innovation to grow. Mayer believes that creativity loves constraints, and this has guided many of the most innovative ideas to come of the company.

In the early days of Google, the often question raised is 'how does Google make money?' In the consumer space, money follows consumers. When you build a huge consumer base, you will find a way for money to come. Google has proven that it is users and not money that should become the focus of the organization.

Don't kill projects, morph them. If an idea is able to get out the door (there's a real product there), usually there is some kernel of truth in there, something interesting, innovative. Don't walk away from new ideas but think of ways to repackage these into something that ultimately works.

"Innovation is exploration of the unknown. No one knows the best path. It is important to try many things, learn what works and what doesn't, quickly reject your failures, and build on your successes. That is the key to innovation," Mayer concluded.

To view the complete video, click here

Related Article on BusinessWeek
Google R&D Pay Dividends

About Marissa Mayer
Marissa leads the product management efforts on Google's search products -- web search, images, groups, news, Froogle, the Google Toolbar, Google Desktop, Google Labs, and more. She joined Google in 1999 as Google's first female engineer and led the user interface and webserver teams at that time. Her efforts have included designing and developing Google's search interface, internationalizing the site to more than 100 languages, defining Google News, Gmail, and Orkut, and launching more than 100 features and products on Several patents have been filed on her work in artificial intelligence and interface design


1 comment:

devbpo2012 said...

This was pretty impressive article and will help me for my blog post. So thanks for sharing it. GE makes our list not on reputation but on the strength of its breakthrough products.

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