Google is one of the most prosperous corporations globally with a market capitalization reaching a record high $ 260 billion. To date, its market shares are at over 900%. Google’s success is attributable to its perpetual innovation processes coupled with its outstanding management practices. With more than 30000 employees, Google remains innovative by tapping employees and accumulating innovative ideas. It provides a platform where different groups generate different innovative ideas. Evidently, any company can rip the benefits by embracing the innovation style of Google with ultimate success.
Strategies for innovation
Some of the strategies by Google to enhance the build and sustain a culture of innovation in their organization include the following:- Look for ideas everywhere: This means accommodating ideas on improvement of processes both internally and externally. External ideas may arise from potential clients who visit Google for their research, partners and advertisers who place ads on Google’s website. Internal ideas come from all staff irrespective of department. For instance, at one time, a medical doctor who was also Google employee generated the idea of incorporating the contacts for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. He based his idea on Google’s responsibility towards the community. The idea was successful and, today, any Google search about suicide returns the hotline contacts at the top. Google encourages everyone to contribute positively towards innovation by insisting on the ideas generated rather than from the source. Ultimately, this goes a long way in improving the innovation process hence the reason Google manages to remain innovative throughout the years.
- Endeavor for constant innovation as opposed to not immediate excellence: the idea behind this strategy is that companies should not strive to get everything right the first time. On the contrary, they should aim to improve on processes based on customer feedback. Essentially, every product or services should have the foundation of satisfying the customers’ need. As such, companies should aim to create a product or service and let the users decide on what to improve. Google Company heavily borrows from this concept as per the examples on Ad Words. Apparently, Google does several do-overs. The first form of Ad Words in 1999 was not quite successful. On the contrary, the product today has undergone an improvement process and, today, it is one of the most power products of Google.
- Have a mission that matters: Ideally, this is one of the most important principles for Google’s success. Apparently, all employees at Google well-align themselves to the Mission and Vision of the company. Google has a positive influence on people with its main responsibility being to organize information globally in a useful way to those who access it. Such a strong sense of mission by Google forms the grounds for innovating new services. For example, Gmail product saw the light of day in an effort to cater for web email access needs of clients. Another example that confirms Google strong sense of mission was the creation of Person Finder tool. The tool is a major advantage particularly in times of crisis as the information that can be life-saving becomes available everywhere. Such is a clear demonstration of how Google creates work in a new destination guided by its strong sense of mission.
- Think big, but start small: Virtually all great innovations and companies start with a big idea. Such an idea forms the grounds for inspirations best practice. Sixteen years ago, Google started up as garage-based company and, today, it is a global innovation workshop. Instead of going for potentially big products, Google split ideas into smaller units for testing. Google also learns fast hence its success. One example of such scenario was when Google Founder, Larry Page, started scanning book pages and posting them online. Essentially, his big idea was borrowed from the sole objective of making books available online. Driven by such interest, Larry purchased a scanner got down to business. Despite the people’s perception, his was the idea of starting small while thinking big. Evidently, today, Google has over ten million books available online. AdSense from Google is also another good example of Google thinking big, but starting small. The first Google Ads appeared on Gmail. To date, AdSense is a global phenomenon with millions of publishers globally.
- Spark with imagination, fuel with data: Google started with crazy ideas through outside-the-box critical thinking and then got down to business by availing data to support the idea. Data fuels ideas in the sense that it provides grounds for likely outcome and actual results. Some of the ideas have seen the light of day after undergoing a thorough innovation process. Google proves that allowing employees to pursue personal interests is a good way to process new products. The company encourages its employees to use a fifth of their work time to work on personal projects. Consequently, numerous products have resulted from such encouragement by the company. A good example for data at work for Google case was the display of 10 results per page of each Google search. After conducting a survey, however, Google realized that customer’s main interest lies in the number of result per page as opposed to loading time speed. Such a fact confirms the ability of data to either support ideas or disapprove them altogether.
Like Google, every company must take into consideration a two-stage framework so as to get rid of innovation deterrents. As a result, this creates a stable environment for innovation. Top management ought to form a persuasive case for adjustment. If the company has a strong foundation of stable finances and competitive advantage, such a move encourages employees to take tolerable risk in an effort to deliver on the company’s products and services. Constant communication is also a requirement and management should strive to ensure effective communication based on a commitment of perpetual innovation across all channels.
Another factor that contributes to constant innovation is the capability of employees to make quick, valid decisions effectively. As a result, organizational knowledge is a key component that helps employees to attain such decision-making capabilities. In an effort to ensure a smooth flow of innovation processes, the management needs to get key innovative agents working together in the organization. They must also support external cooperation with others. Innovative ideas must remain clear to the employees executing them and managers should support them by enabling processes and technologies. Incentives to top performers are also a requirement for the success of innovation processes.
Organisational Practices of Innovation
Innovation is always about something different and more futuristic. Most certainly, it involves taking a step towards unexplored areas that can define the turning point of the company. It also involved improvement of old-ideas to new ones. If properly designed, innovation augments the production processes while at the same time improving employees’ holistic performance. For any company that does not have the capability to innovate, it is likely to decline. Consequently, it is the role of every management team in any organization to have a commitment to innovation and generation of fresh ideas in an effort to thrive in an aggressively competitive market.
The pressure to improve performance should be the main driver for innovation for any organization. Examples of sample innovations in an organization include; new merchandises or services, new manufacture processes, new forms organizational form and new strategy and marketing methods. However, within this framework, the innovations relating to the management of people are covered predominantly by the category of new forms of organization or ‘organizational innovation’. Within this category, organizational innovation includes:
- business practices – including knowledge-sharing and staff development;
- workplace organization – including devolution of decision-making to employees;
- external relations – between employees in one part of an organization and those of other departments or externally;
- Other innovations – including the use of variable pay as a change to reward systems or atypical employment contracts.
Best Organizational Innovation Practices
- Leadership demonstration and intentions: For any company to succeed in innovation, the top management must be willing and supportive and avail resources and motivations. Google has in a way embraced this idea by creating an active support system to cultivate innovation. For instance, there is an expectation by Google’s management for every person to innovate. Administrative staff and finance personnel are no exception. Emphasis is on the innovation itself rather than the source. Despite the call for everyone to participate in innovation, the management must also ensure that competent leaders lead specific efforts to assimilate innovative quests. For perpetual innovation, there is a need to hire, train and compensate the innovative efforts of staff and leaders.
- Fair innovation: At times, innovation transforms on ideas from the past into new innovative ideas. Such coupled with the fact that anybody can innovate, gears towards a more far-reaching organizational practice whose main objective is to realize interior innovation as well as open up to exterior ideas and processes. Such practice persuades employees to participate in breeding innovative ideas. It is, therefore, important to empower people.
- Experiment and learn: The innovational process encompasses many known and unknown issues. A company such as Google can only have perpetual innovation through the years by having the will to experiment and learn from mistakes. If new implementation of new ideas does not take place, then the ideas are as good as useless. Google, as such, must have the commitment to experiment and learn. In so doing, this speeds up the innovation process and implementation of such innovations.
- Collaborate and network: Innovation mostly results from collaborating with different people and teams with different ideas. As such, there is the involvement of people both inside and outside the organization. For instance, Most of the customers who visit Google for their research could offer insights into a new way of doing things. With the input from employees, Google can then merge the ideas to identify unexploited opportunities and that brings about innovation.
- Communication: For any organization to have a successful innovation culture there must be sound communication policies. Google, for instance, should implement policies to initiate and distribute information related to innovations and changes attributable to innovation to ensure its clarity. Proper communication protocols also ensure good organizational knowledge and welcomes employees to participate towards innovation. On the contrary, poor communication can make some employees selfish and dissuade others from participating in the innovation process in order for them to gain a competitive advantage.
- Measure and accountability: Companies should strive to ensure that their investments in innovation are rewarding. As such, a way should exist to measure accountability through accepted systems of metrics. Efforts are in place by The Department of Commerce in the U.S. to define innovation and propose various measurement options. Google can use such metrics to gauge the scale of innovation in its processes and hence come up with a perpetual plan to ensure it remains innovative for years to come.
- Run the risk: The innovation process is always a risky investment where organizations learn from their mistakes. Businesses ought to differentiate between low and non-performance to determine if they should continue with the innovation processes. As such, it is always wise to device the acceptable risk-tolerance levels. In so doing, this defines the acceptable risk for decision making on whether to continue with the innovation process or do away with it.
Innovation holds the key to business success for the anticipatable future. For successful innovation, the tools and methods used to generate ideas depends on the form of desired innovation and the approach taken. The following are the primary approaches that spread innovation:
- Dissemination: This principle proposes actively availing information and the technical expertise for sharing innovation with others. The approach is the most-basic strategy that supports innovation.
- Growth: This principle proposes the capacity to increase the range and scale of innovation in an organization. It focuses on elevating the use of a new experimental exercise or product within an organization. S such, it applies largely in diverse areas of the organization and also with carefully associated partners.
- Replication. This principle proposes assistance to reproduce the improvement in other environments other than in an organization thereby distributing the innovation processes to other areas.
- Promoting an enabling environment: This principle proposes to help encourage strategies, criterions, and markets emphasizing the dissemination of innovation. In most times, it’s never enough to cultivate or duplicate an innovation. There is a need to alter the superior system to stimulate more extensive practice through a change in policies, autonomy, or other mechanisms.
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