Thursday, 30 August 2007
Google's 9 Steps to Innovation.
Innovation, not instant perfection. Google believes in launching new products and ideas early and often, rather than trying to perfect those ideas behind closed doors before releasing them to the public. Then, customer feedback and popularity prove which projects are most successful.
Share everything you can. Small teams that communicate openly have proved the best results for Google. They believe in transparency in the workplace so that everyone knows what everyone else is working on. (Scary, right?) They have a computer program where employees can look up names and see what others are working on, so if they have an idea to contribute they know who to talk to.
You’re brilliant, we’re hiring. When Google interviews employees, Lecinski said they set the bar very high. They focus more on hiring generalists rather than specialists, as they have found generalists are more valuable and can contribute ideas to different parts of the company.
Allow employees to pursue their dreams. Lecinski said Google allows its employees’ time in a 70/20/10 model. Seventy percent of the time they work on Google’s search and ad flagships; they develop new programs like Images, Desktop and Finance 20 percent of the time; and 10 percent of the time employees are allowed to pursue their own high risk/high reward projects. Lecinski said Google Earth is a result of one of those projects.
Ideas come from everywhere. Sometimes Google turns to the public for new ideas. The Google mastheads, which are customized for holidays and events, are taken from non-employee submissions. One of the mastheads was designed by a 12-year-old girl.
Don’t politic – use data. With all the ideas floating around Google, the best way to determine which may work is to use supportive data. As Lecinski said, “Data beats opinion.”
Creativity loves restraint. Again, Google has to have some way to keep all of the employee-generated ideas streamlined towards the company’s goals. “Let people explore, but set clear boundaries for that exploration,” Lecinski said.
Get users and usage – the money will follow. This goes back to one of Lecinski’s larger points, “respect for end users,” but is a principle to follow in any form of business. He says to focus on creating things that are innovative and useful for people, not something you can sell.
Don’t kill projects, morph them. Google doesn’t waste ideas. Instead, they try to change and transform them into something the company finds useful.