An organization that practices world-class innovation is marked by three things. It invests human and financial resources in innovation, it uses best-of-breed innovation tools and techniques, and it chooses a single definition of innovation to apply across the firm. Google is a great example to imitate.
Google’s 20%-time policy allows engineers to work one day out of five on projects that they – not their bosses – select. Would you divert 20% of your engineering budget from customer projects to projects that generate no revenue? Google is happy to do so.
Google is also known for its scientific approach to innovation. World-class scientists conduct groundbreaking research. Small teams are formed to assure that projects move quickly without bureaucratic interference. New product ideas are tested through rigorous experiments. Does your company practice innovation as a science?
Everyone at Google knows what innovation means. The organization’s mission is made clear to workers at all levels. Values such as learning, organizing information, and entrepreneurship are promoted. The goal of innovation is to create applications that will make customers’ lives better. Do your leaders, mid-managers and workers all know what innovation means in your company?
You don’t need billions of dollars in revenue or market capitalization to innovate like Google. If you invest strategically in innovation; practice innovation in a disciplined, scientific manner; and adopt a single definition of innovation for everyone on your team, you’re on your way to success.
Related reading: How Google Innovates