In the pantheon of internet-based companies, Google stands out as both particularly successful and particularly innovative. Not since Microsoft has a company had so much success so quickly. Google excels at IT and business architecture, experimentation, improvisation, analytical decision making, participative product development, and other relatively unusual forms of innovation. It balances an admittedly chaotic ideation process with a set of rigorous, data-driven methods for evaluating ideas. The company culture attracts the brightest technical talent, and despite its rapid employee growth Google still gets 100 applicants for every open position. It has developed or acquired a wide variety of new offerings to augment the core search product. Its growth, profitability, and shareholder equity are at unparalleled levels. This highly desirable situation may not last forever, but Google has clearly done something right.
Some of the key innovation practices in Google
Practice Strategic Patience
Google's mission "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful" is so broad as to be imperial, yet clearly takes it seriously. Beyond its core search and advertising capabilities, the company has embarked on ventures involving online productivity, blogging, radio and television advertising, online payments, social networks, mobile phone operating systems, and many more information domains.
What information management tools the company hasn't developed it has acquired: Picasa for photo management; YouTube for online videos; DoubleClick for web ads; Keyhole for satellite photos (now Google Earth); Urchin for web analytics (now Google Analytics).
The company's managers are strategically patient. CEO Eric Schmidt has estimated that it will take 300 years to achieve the mission of organizing the world's information. His 1,200- quarter forecast might invite smirking; still, it illustrates Google's long-term approach to building value...