Friday, May 2

Company Culture

A lot of what has made IDEO a success can also be applied to Google. They have a similar work environment, very flat organizational structures and a similar thirst for only the highest quality staff. They have introduced a few new concepts to the mix such as 20% time, that lets the staff work on personal projects, using the company’s resources. Although this sounds counterproductive, it has interestingly led to 50% of the companies released projects including grand releases such as Google News. Marissa Mayer introduced nine lessons about creativity at Google, a lot of which can equally be applied to other successful enterprises:

• Ideas come from everywhere
• Share everything you can + (not) taking credit
• Working with smart people
• License to pursue dreams
• Innovation, not instant perfection (Macs and Madonna)
• Data is apolitical
• Creativity loves constraint
• Users, not money
• Don’t kill products, morph them

Most of the lessons can be taken straight into any business, some more easily than others, but all very appropriate. The two, working with smart people, and sharing everything you can come from creating a culture of trust and respect at the company, along with only employing people that fit with the culture you are trying to create. Others are more policy based, such as the 20% to pursue dreams, and concentrating on creating great products, rather than focusing on the business model, which Mellissa argues will come as a natural progression, once the user need has been satisfied. Others go back to failure, and the way to deal with it, such as consistently iterating product releases, and refocusing projects that aren’t as successful as they should be to find the area in which they will work.

Some don’t quite transfer over to a small business quite as easily, such as using data to justify decisions, taking out any politics involved, which is a great concept, but for a small company can be expensive and time consuming.

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