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.”