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Innovate Like Google

January 6, 2012

Google has long been respected as an innovative company.  According to Jaime Casap, Senior Education Evangelist at Google, they had 217 updates to Google Apps in 2010. The operating system for Chrome Books is refreshed every 6 weeks.  How do they do it?  How do you create a culture of innovation?  Here are a few insights from Jaime that Google uses to help keep the creative, innovative juices running at Google.

  • Collect data – Data is used to solve user problems.
  • Hire the best – Providing a creative and innovative environment attracts the best employees.
  • Share the Information – Google leaders communicate information shared at their board meetings, as much as possible, to staff. Employees feel connected and inspired when they all share the vision of the company.
  • Morph ideas, don’t kill them – Even the failures have some important learnings that can be reused.  Some of the technology behind Google Wave has been incorporated in Google+.
  • Speed Matters – Google launches products when they feel they’re about 80% done.  This allows them to ‘launch early and iterate’.
  • Data drives ALL decisions – Google collects data on all products and uses that information to create better user experiences.
  • Users come first – All users must be considered.  Software engineers are thinking about solving user issues across the globe.
  • 20% Projects – Google’s engineers and thought leaders are encouraged to spend 20% of their time on anything.  While not all results from this 20% time have resulted in Google products, there have been a few.  Google’s Gmail was given as an example.
  • Creative Environment – Google’s physical work environments are very deliberate.  Slides, nap pods, pool tables and more provide an environment where employees are encouraged to be relaxed and approach problems from a creative perspective.

Want to learn more about how Google works?  Jaime suggests reading the book, In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives.

How do you foster an innovative environment at your business?

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