Blog #1 from our campaign "Secrets to become an Elite Entrepreneur"
Google is one of the most innovative platforms to date. Since its inception in 1998, the company has made huge waves with their user-friendly design, simplified home page, and many world-changing projects. The search engine has a user base of over 1 billion and generates revenues of about $65 billion. In 2017 alone, they have acquired a whopping 20 start-ups - making them even harder to predict in terms of future success. While not all comers are going to become Google's next big project or acquisition, there are still many reasons why you should strive to be the next big innovator like them.
The following article will look at some of the core principles that make Google so innovative and provide an example of how they can be applied to everyday problems.
Google's 8 innovation principles are: focus on the user; open will win; ideas can come from everywhere; think big but start small; never fail to fail; spark with imagination, fuel with data; be a platform...float all boats; have a mission that matters.
Most people see these eight points as key to understanding why Google is so successful-obviously not every company or business will be able to implement all eight of these points. However, there are some similar concepts that can be used in any business or start-up if you want to think outside the box and innovate like Google.
The user is King
“Bad design gets complaints while good design seems invisible.”
- Thomas Watson Jr., Former president of IBM (until 1956).
Decades ago, the Internet was a mess. This wasn't necessarily because of lack of sophistication or ability; it was simply that there were no guiding principles to make things simple. Nowadays, Google is seen as the epitome of design simplicity and usability - which can be accredited to their principle of designing for the user.
Focus on your users. Most products are built to make the company money, not the users' lives easier. If you want to be innovative in your business or startup, focusing on what your customers need or want is crucial in finding success.
Open will win
Teamwork makes the dream work... heard that before? Even Google emphasises this point. The world is filled with knowledge and in an interconnected world, the best way to obtain this knowledge is to share it, and be open to what others have to share!
At Google, they have open information sharing which ensures that every employee is on the same page. This might not be possible in your business or startup, but you can still work towards being open with others!
Ideas can come from anywhere
Elon Musk says people must be like pirates. A pirate can act independently and take intelligent risks, but always within the scope of the greater vision and the needs of the greater team. If you look around, you'll find that some of the best ideas can come from anyone. This is something Google has recognised and changed their company culture to accommodate this.
Google's official policy is that all employees should feel encouraged to think beyond what they're working on or what they know. Teams are more effective when they bring together diverse perspectives. Current technology, and the pandemic, has allowed people to work from anywhere and have access to a large database of knowledge.
Think big, but start small
Google wasn't built in a day-in fact, it took them several years to build the search engine we know today. Rather than trying to revolutionise the world overnight, they started with something simple and worked their way up from there.
Many people feel like they have fantastic ideas that will change the world... but then nothing comes of it. This is because they start too big and get frustrated when things don't happen fast enough. When you're trying to be innovative or disruptive, this can lead to poor performance or even failure!
Never fail to fail
Google's unofficial motto 'never fail to fail' encourages employees to try new things, even if they might not work out in the end.
Failure is inevitable - if you're afraid of failure then you'll never reach success. This is why it's important to encourage your team members (even yourself!) that it's okay for things to go wrong, but it's important to learn from each mistake and strive to improve yourself. As the saying goes - you either win, or you learn.
Spark with imagination, fuel with data
Even though Google is known for their data-centric approach, they still stay true to their core and use imagination and innovation to make the products we know and love today. Through this method, users are able to get what they want quickly and easily without feeling inundated with too much information.
Google's development team was challenged to create a photo-editing tool in just 10 weeks. What was the result? Google Photos, which is an app that lets you store and find photos easily.
Whilst it is important to stay true to your core, it is important to put in the work and do the research! The most successful startups today are data-driven. This means that they listen to their users and learn from their mistakes. Without constant feedback from users, products would lose focus and become too bloated or not solve a problem at all.
Be a platform... Float all boats
Imagine the world of fan fiction-unfortunately, Google doesn't find this fantasy interesting. However, they do believe in making information available to everyone, just like fan fiction is only popular because of how available it is to readers.
Google creates platforms for everyone to innovate across... this way they all win! We can see a similar situation in the App Store, where thousands of developers make a living from iOS apps. The only difference is that Google has made their platform free and open source - everyone can access it!
Finally, Google has a mission that matters
Google's unofficial motto was 'Don't be evil', which still stands to this day. They believe they have the power and resources to make the world a better place, one step at a time. This is why it's important to set goals and stay true to them - even when you fail (which you will, many times). Only when you believe in what you're doing can other people see the bigger picture and get involved.
Google's 8 innovation principles have proven to be stellar guiding points for many starting and growing businesses. The best way to achieve results is to learn from the past - see how successors have succeeded, adopt their core principles, values and lessons, and apply it appropriately to your business and life.
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