Have you ever stopped and wondered what it is about Google that makes it such a success? It’s not just about search engines anymore. It’s about a culture that has wriggled and weaved its way to epic productivity, as well as a set of services and technologies that are industry-leading.
Here are some insights from Gopi Kallayil, Google’s chief evangelist, about how exactly the company gets innovation right. What’s so cool about his insights is that they can be used by any business.
Always Default To Open Processes.
When Google first introduced the Android platform, what did it do? Did it try to hide the programming language in a black box and set up a bureaucracy that decided which apps were allowed on Android Market and which weren’t? Of course not. Instead, it tapped into the community, leveraging the creative potential of millions of Android users, and allowing them to upload and sell their own applications. It was a bold move and one that competitor Apple found a lot harder to do.
Kallayil says that this is how you form a sustainable ecosystem: get everybody on board and allow people to use a service with as few barriers and gatekeepers as possible. These are the ecosystems that thrive.
Bet On Technical Insights.
Historically, Google has always bet on technical insights by bringing together multiple areas in which it has expertise. Before the company began developing its autonomous car, it already had support systems, like Google Maps, Google Earth, and Street View. The next obvious step was to team up with academics, this time at Stanford, to build a car that would drive the streets all by itself. The Google team have had significant success with the project, driving it all the way from the Bay Area to Lake Tahoe.
Kallayil says that companies can leverage data and insights in much the same way that Google did, not necessarily to build self-driving cars, but to gain deeper insights into the products that they might be able to launch in the future.
Focus On User Experience.
According to Kallayil, businesses should worry about money later: their first priority is to build upon and improve their user experience. Google uses predictive search, for instance, to help users find exactly what they are looking for in a few keystrokes, rather than having to type out an entire phrase.
Anything that helps serve customers needs faster, whether that means moving away from batch processing of data or allowing users to save their information for the next time that they log in, is a big help.
Innovation Can Come From Anywhere.
Unlike academic institutions or most typical companies, Google doesn’t decide beforehand where innovation can come from. The company firmly believes that progress and innovation can come from anywhere and from anyone.
For instance, a lot of people type in the search “how to commit suicide” into Google’s search engine. It’s a morbid topic, but some Google staff said that the company should find ways to intervene in these situations. They came up with the idea of providing a link to a toll-free suicide helpline whenever a user made that particular search. The result? Call volumes went up and suicides, presumably went down.