The Guardian has an interesting article about Google and how they stay innovative. Below are some interesting things from the article I liked:
“It was Rupert Murdoch who summed up success in the digital age when he said: “Big will not beat small any more – it will be the fast beating the slow.” That might be inspiring for startups, but in the process-laden, corporate environment, how can big companies keep their edge by moving quickly and lightly?
Sergey Brin, Google’s co-founder, thinks size should help. “It’s important for people to realise that you should benefit from the scale – if you’re not benefiting then you’re doing something wrong, and might as well break up into lots of little things.
We have been gradually embracing the idea that once you’re successful, we give you much more latitude, says Brin. Somebody who has a success under their belt has really demonstrated accomplishment and in that case we will give them generally more liberty. When they came and proposed this idea they said, ‘We want to do something new and revolutionary, but we’re not even going to tell you what it is. And we want to go back to Australia, hire a bunch of people and just work on it.’ That was a crazy proposal,” Brin says, and not one many businesses would have supported. But, having seen their success with Maps, I felt that it actually was pretty reasonable.” It was two years ago that Brin agreed to support the project, and the full version of Wave will be released later this year.
The most well-known Google initiative for encouraging innovation in-house is its “20% time” strategy, which has almost become an innovation cliché. The idea that 80% of an engineer’s time is spent on the day job and 20% pursuing a personal project is a mathematician’s solution to innovation, Brin says.
In-house, Google uses a project database and an ideas mailing list to manage new projects. While noting ideas on the mailing list is important, it is less significant than the project database, says Brin, which lists weekly updates on who is working on what, their goals, progress and links to documentation. That distinction has to be instilled in the company culture.”
Interesting quote from the May edition of Inc. Magazine from Jack Stack the CEO of Springfield Remanufacturing. He said “A layoff is a failure of management but the people who usually pay for that failure are not the ones responsible for it”. Does anyone want to touch that one?
Visited the Target Corporate headquarters in Minneapolis, MN.
Stromberg Consulting Presentation
Target and Best Buy are using Stromberg Consulting to help with their branding strategy
Brand + Reputation + Perception = Today’s Reality
Employees, customers, and stakeholders are all seeking much more transparency in the relationships that they have with companies.
Good brand = promise
Great brand = promise kept
From the moment we are born we are all in networks. Some of us even find love through our networks. Stories travel the world in minutes through our networks. People play different roles in networks. Using networks to change our professional lives.
I was at Best Buy’s corporate headquarters today in Minneapolis, MN for the CMMA Professional Development Conference. The agenda for the events today were as follows:
Keynote Dialogue: Video Fueling Culture. Brad Anderson, Vice-Chairman and CEO, Best Buy
Fueling Communications Culture Topic & Discussion #1: Advocating for the Audience (Best Buy’s TAG TV Team)
Fueling Communications Culture Topic & Discussion #2: Listening to Employees (Best Buy’s Employee Communication Team)
Brad Anderston - Vice Chairman/CEO
Brian Dunn - President/COO
Keynote Dialogue: Video Fueling Culture. Brad Anderson (Vice-Chairman and CEO) and Brian Dunn – (President/COO), Best Buy
Best Buy did a video series where they asked customers who walked out of the store why they were leaving the store without merchandise. They were able to get lots of insight into why they were missing out on potential sales.
In our old days “we sold products to customers instead of solutions for customers”
Best Buy’s China operations: one of the first two Best Buy China employees hired was named Arial. The reason she was hired was in her interview she was asked why she wanted to work for Best Buy. She held up her hand and said to the CEO: “Mr. Anderson do you see this (pointing to her lifeline within the palm of her hand)?” She continued saying “in that time I want to help change China.”
“We want to be the kind of place that attracts people who have big dreams” (Brad Anderson)
An audience member asked “what are your customers telling you where you need to be 5 years from now?” Brad Anderson answered by saying “people feel like they are slaves of their devices. People engineering their devices engineer them to fit their needs instead of consumers needs. It isn’t a good excuse because of scale any more. Best Buy will be successful if we can enrich people’s lives by solving that complexity for the customer”.
People want to be able to do business with companies they can trust. How do you get to a place where you are transparent so people can trust you?
They do spots where employees tell the stories of customers they have affected
Communications is the conscious of the organization and they were never accepted and they were a little dangerous in that they let a story go out that challenges a premise of a company. Talked about a book called the naked corporation.
The leaders that have a tough time with it end up being the butt of the jokes.
Sending DVDs to the stores of “Tag TV”
Not actively measuring video effectiveness but when employees pull a corporate video that was pushed it is a sign of something that is working
What is the story of Best Buy now and how does it end?
The center of Best Buy is its employees.
Things that don’t have a reason to exist tend not to
Organizations as large as Best Buy can’t grow without communications and technology that support those communications
Listening to Employees
Jennifer Rock – Director Employee Communications
Barry Johnson – Director Employee Communications
Best Buy reduced employee discounts to save the company money and created “The Water Cooler” which is a forum for employees (54 pages of feedback). The Executives went back and changed their minds about reducing the employee discount after 5 days.
Sent out an IOC saying “We heard you” and we made a mistake on this one and we want to hear more.
Four types of dialog (note: the more complex the change the more active you need the dialog to be)