How To Innovate Like Google

Google made waves recently by introducing a new proprietary social media platform, aptly named Google+. It may have the look and feel of Facebook as of right now, but this wasn’t the focus of Forbes Blogger Quentin Hardy when he sat down to write about Google’s latest ideas. Instead, he decided to take a closer look at their office environment and how systemized innovation has allowed Google to become one of the most successful companies in the world.

As their executive chairman Eric Schmidt explains, Google has created an environment where all employees are asking why things are “the way they are, and wondering if they can be done in a different way.” And innovation wasn’t just a priority of the decision makers or their team members, either – it was everyone’s priority.

No matter what Google is doing, it is clear that they are doing something right and their “70/20/10 system” deserves some attention. While this mechanism cannot account for each and every one of Google successes, there are ideas about peak performance hidden within this construct, as well as Schmidt’s discussion of how Google does business, and some takeaway executive coaching lessons:

  • They have effectively balanced knowing what to expect from their employees and knowing when to challenge them. Walking this line is one of their keys to success.
  • Innovation needs to be a concern of each and every employee, not just decision-makers. You must lead by example.
  • There needs to be room for learning, experimentation and implementation. Commend and celebrate innovative ideas. Remember: not all ideas will be home-runs but this probing thought process should be encouraged nonetheless.
  • Embrace change. Do not cling to the old way of thinking. Do not fear a new process.
  • Change gears when working to complete a task. You should switch your focus every few hours to avoid weariness and lost productivity.
  • Encourage tinkering. Ideas should be evaluated and feedback should be given quickly and clearly.
  • Balance the energy of your workplace with a diverse group of employees. Find a happy medium when building your team. A youthful group can mean palpable energy, excitement and self-motivation while an older group can mean wisdom and experience.

What do you think?


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