The Google Company was founded in 1998. Since its inception, the organization has transformed its innovative culture through a massive diversification strategy that has seen it offer dozens of products and services for all kinds in various languages. It has concentrated on Internet-related services such as online advertising, search, and software innovation. The company was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin who had seen it through its rapid development, the growth of various partnerships, acquisitions and product development (Battelle 2005). The business continues to serve millions of people across the globe with the standout mission of organizing the world’s information so as to make it universally accessible. Innovation comes in various forms, from small changes made to existing services to new offerings that catapult the entire industry. However, Google’s innovation strategy is a process that has been aimed at addressing industry-specific variables and the company’s culture. Only a critical analysis of Google can reveal its strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for improvement.
Innovation Management at Google
Google has continuously been challenging conventional managerial perspectives with regard to innovation. The venture has been able to combine different competencies successfully. They include engineering skills in computer-related fields and scientifically-supported expertise that focuses on human resources. Google’s management model has been important for creativity and innovation. The model facilitates enabling environment where originality delivers maximum value to the consumers. The model has several principles and is focused on managing innovation from different perspectives and harmonizing it towards quality product and service delivery. The dynamic capability principle holds Google’s ability to integrate and develop external competencies so as to keep up with the rapidly changing business environment. Google is constantly developing new projects with the help of its engineers who are always on the lookout for external changes. An example of a project that has been assigned to engineers is the Google+ model, which has demonstrated brilliant skills and insights.
The second principle is a people-centric approach, where the company focuses on individual employees in order to liberate their innovative power. This principle is based on the belief that people will want to be creative and that the environment should provide them with an ability to express their creativity. Google emphasizes hiring the right people who can manage a business environment of rapid change by having been empowered. Moreover, the organization offers its employees voluntary education while giving them the chance to clear any unnecessary bureaucratic features that could hinder employee collaboration, communication and freedom.
The third principle that helps to manage creativity is based on shaping the company to being an ambidextrous organization. That is, the business has to concentrate on daily production, but not forget to develop creativity by offering the workforce greater freedom that opens their attitude toward experimentation. Google utilizes the 70-20-10% rule, where 70% of the employees’ time should be focused on core business, 20% – on related projects, and 10% – on other projects unrelated to the core business. Accordingly, Google’s engineers have the opportunity to use their time to work on their projects, while other employees can improve their ideas during the 20% of the provided time (Covili 2012). The company’s semi-structured system facilitates employee creativity so that their performance can be valued on the basis of innovation and production. The fourth principle that Google has used so far to manage creativity is the promotion of a network that cares for the environment. Google has been practicing the principle of promotion a conscious exchange of information with the environment in order to capture various ideas developed by the engineers and other employees.
Google’s Internal and Collaborative Innovation Processes
Google’s success stems from its forward-looking innovation as well as its extraordinary management systems. The company has relied on empowering its employees and letting their ideas percolate. Google has been keeping the pipeline of innovation moving by tapping on the available human resources. It has approximately 30,000 employees that are brought together through a common arena for innovative purposes. Its internal and collaborative innovation processes are designed to be managed by channels that encourage expression from different people with varying ideas.
One of the most effective channels that facilitate collaboration in the innovation strategy are Google Cafes. They have played a huge role in encouraging interactions among staff and across departments. The company has an innovation management tool known as the Google Moderator that connects all employees so that anyone is free to propose ideas that can move the organization forward. Through the Google Moderator, the management can discover new ideas and suggestions. The tool has been instrumental in allowing employees to work on projects that improve the business, and the entire organization has been able to make use of different talents.
Google’s internal and collaborative innovation processes have been significant for the improvement of product and service delivery. Through the Google + conversation channel, employees are able to contribute into the overall business direction. The channel has facilitated internal innovation reviews and formal meetings where employees can present service-related ideas to the top executives. The innovation structure of Google encourages employees to take surveys about their managers. The survey acts as a performance appraisal system that recognizes the best and the worst managers, who are then offered intense coaching to improve their skills. As a result, the company has cultivated a creative workforce, which key to its innovation.
Having discussed the ways the company has improved its innovation structures, a critical analysis is needed to note the sectors that require improvement. The business can improve by learning how to attract and manage innovators as well as foster engagement among them. This step should, ultimately, lead to greater success. The Google Company has sidelined the consumers’ ideas and not given them an environment to express their suggestions. The company has to gain more insights into the consumer needs as well as involve them to validate the employees’ and engineers’ ideas. The Customer Happiness Fixit needs to be expanded to accommodate more ideas and solutions to various issues.
Plan to Improve Innovation Management
Google has been enjoying financial success as a result of fine innovations it has adopted. However, being a process-driven company, it has become difficult to accommodate business partners. Efficiency is prioritized at the expense of flexibility. This feature will jeopardize Google’s development in case there are market shifts and/or technological advancements. R;D is no longer a guarantee for improved innovation management in the leading companies. Rather, an open innovation philosophy that accommodates systematic partnerships is required for Google to manage its innovation structure. Partnerships with other players in the same industry will enable Google to evaluate and challenge its innovative and managerial processes. Partnerships with the like-minded industry partners will create project-specific networks. Adopting an open innovation philosophy that accommodates other partners is significant in pulling together ideas from various sources and understanding that each partner will bring a different and valuable perspective. This plan has been borne from the idea that Google+ is dying slowly with respect to its declining rate of engagement year-over-year.
Google should rediscover the focus of delighting consumers that has catapulted it to success at the first place. The best companies are known to articulate their activities to close the strategic innovation gap. As such, innovation management at Google should focus on developing its innovative vision into a reality. It is achieved through investing in surveys that anticipate future trends and establishing new groups of prospective consumers. Therefore, the plan to accommodate other partners should be focused on adopting clear operational targets that aim at the prospective consumers’ needs. Through this strategy, the company will be able to position its innovators at the start of a process, which identifies future megatrends that have to be addressed to keep Google competitive. After identification of the megatrends, the venture should turn them into action fields against which the product ideas are to be developed.
Innovation is increasingly becoming the modern imperative for management. Google has had a successful course of service-delivery since 1998 as a result of its effective innovation strategies. However, the report indicates that although Google has been successful in delivering innovative products all over the world, it has to accommodate other strategic partners for flexibility purposes. It continues to rely heavily on its engineers even as it keeps entering other arenas where engineering has no chances. These areas include social and handheld interfaces that require the company to embrace more creativity if it aims to thrive. An open innovation philosophy that accommodates other partners should be adopted for flexibility purposes. The future of the organization looks positive as long as its strategy can be changed to accommodate new trends.