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Google Moonshots


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The presentation captures the essence of case study I wrote for ICBM's Intl Case Competition. The case attempts to capture the spirit of continuous strategic innovation, despite blurring industry lines, insufficient data, evolving technologies & unstated customer needs. How do you decide to chase one strategy rather than another? What is short term? What is long term? When do you stay put, modify or abandon the strategy?

Published in: Education, Technology, Business

Google Moonshots

  1. 1. REINVENTING THE FUTURE – GOOGLE MOONSHOTS Sub Theme: Innovation Strategy KHAN FIRDAUS M.R. Associate Professor, ICBM-SBE – Hyderabad
  2. 2. Overview of the Presentation • Learning Objectives • Case study - Google’s dilemma - Case questions • Case study’s fitment in management course • Case Assessment • Bibliography
  3. 3. Learning Objectives of the Case study
  4. 4. LEARNING OBJECTIVES • To introduce the concept of ‘Moonshots’ or innovating for future markets. • To serve as an activity sheet that - simulates management decision-making, - encourages self-learning and critical analysis, - develops team spirit and lateral thinking.
  5. 5. The Case Study
  6. 6. Predicting the future… • “The best way to predict the future is to invent it” – Alan Kay (1971) • Kay is an American computer programmer whose invention Smalltalk inspired Macintosh, Windows and other operating systems.
  7. 7. Inventing the future… • To be willing and able to invent its own future an organization should have both roots and wings: • Roots of core competencies and leadership • Wings of creativity and risk-taking
  8. 8. Competing in fastchanging, turbulent Industries • Innovation as a strategy for growth is used by industry leaders such as Google, Amazon, Apple, 3M • The challenge is to stay ahead by ‘effecting change’ rather than by being ‘affected by it.’
  9. 9. “Goooooooogle it” • Due to its expansive reach and unmatched service quality, Google has come to epitomize search. • It also is the face of ‘relentless innovation’ • Google TV, self driving cars, Google Buzz, Wave, Street View, Google Reader, Android, Nexus phones, Google Glass, Goggles …….Calico (Sept 2013)
  10. 10. Not 10% more, 10 times more!
  11. 11. Not 10% more, 10 times more! • “... a big part of my job is to get people focused on things that are not just incremental. Take Gmail. When we released that, we were a search company—it was a leap for us to put out an email product, let alone one that gave users 100 times more storage than they could get anywhere else. That is not something that would have happened naturally if we had been focusing on incremental improvements.” – CEO Larry Page
  12. 12. Google’s Moonshots • Projects that attempt to invent its future growth trajectory. Explore 99% virgin territory • Pros: Building future markets; first mover advantage; proprietary technology. • Cons: no imminent financial cash inflows; guzzling up of cash reserves in terms of R&D, product development and market research; entrepreneurial splintering.
  13. 13. Reaching for the Moon…..falling short? HITS • • • • • • • • Android Youtube Chrome Google Maps Google Books Google TV Google Crisis Response Google Person Finder MISSES • • • • • • • • Orkut Wave Reader iGoogle Click-to-call Google Buzz Google Health Nexus phones, Chromebook
  14. 14. Current Moonshots • • • • Calico Project Loon Google Now Web Designer
  15. 15. Gray-zone of Moonshots Huge Problems/latent Customer needs Radical solution through breakthrough technology
  16. 16. Moonshots Conundrum • Starting point: disregard the impossible, apply innovation and lateral thinking, arrive at workable, practical solutions. • Dual threat: money & attention guzzlers as well create management blind spots regarding the readiness of the market to recognize the latent need & accept the new unconventional solution (eg driverless cars & Google Glass)
  17. 17. Moonshots: old Wine in new Bottle • AT&T = “Idea Factory” • Poured huge amount of capital and high calibre talent into its subsidiary Bell Labs in order to shape and refine future products and technology. • Outcomes: transistor, the laser and Unix operating system. • But the curse of tunnel vision has rendered AT&T ‘an also-ran’.
  18. 18. Google’s Googly • Few disgruntled shareholders: Reader, Moto X & Nexus, Calico • Google needs to focus on increasing its success rate and its moonshots need to deliver. • Which moonshots can Google bet on? Which current business lines should it harvest? Which ones should it divest?
  19. 19. ANNEXURES supplementary information to attempt the case
  20. 20. • • • • • • • • • • • • GOOGLE PRODUCTS & SERVICES WEB BASED PRODUCTS: Google search, Snapshots, SEO, Multiple Languages, Google Alerts, Google Books, Google Scholar, Google Shopping, ADVERTISING SERVICES: Admob, Adsense, AdWords, Google Grants, G-Think Insights COMMUNICATION & PUBLISHING TOOLS: Google Keep, Google 3D Warehouse, Google Cultural Institute, Google Art Project, Feed Burner, Google Apps Google Drive, Google Hangouts, Youtube, iGoogle, Orkut DEVELOPMENT TOOLS: Google Code, Google Go, Google App Engine, Google Swiffy MAP-RELATED PRODUCTS: Google Map Maker, G- Maps, G-Street View, Google Sky STATISTICAL TOOLS: Google Analytics, Google Consumer Surveys, Freebase, Trendalyzer OPERATING SYSTEM : Android, Chrome OS, Google TV . DESKTOP APPLICATIONS : Adwords Editor, Chrome, uProxy , Google Earth, Picasa MOBILE APPLICATIONS: Google News, Google Offers, Google Wallet, Google Translate Google Youtube MOBILE STANDALONE APPLICATIONS : Goggles, Hangouts, Google Now, Google+ HARDWARE: Google Driverless Car, Motorola Mobility, Nexus phones, Galaxy Nexus Google TV, Chromebook, Chromecast, Project Glass SERVICES: Google Crisis Response, Google Fiber, Google Person Finder
  21. 21. The Three Horizon’s Model
  22. 22. Case study Activity sheet
  23. 23. ACTIVITY #1 ATTEMPT EACH OF THESE QUESTIONS AS A TEAM OF 3 • Read through Annexure 1 or alternatively visit the webpage which provides a comprehensive list of Google products and services. Draw a timeline of at least 15 Google products and services (of your choice) inclusive of launch/purchase and expiry dates, explaining in brief the reason the product/service continues to thrive or was killed. Comment in brief on the risks involved in emergent technologies.
  24. 24. ACTIVITY #2 ATTEMPT EACH OF THESE QUESTIONS AS A TEAM OF 3 • Read through Annexure 3 to understand the 3 Horizon’s Model. Assess Google’s innovation strategy using this model and highlight at least 2 Google products or services that lie in each of the 3 horizons.
  25. 25. ACTIVITY #3 ATTEMPT EACH OF THESE QUESTIONS AS A TEAM OF 3 • If you were in Larry Page’s shoes, brainstorm to arrive at 2 ‘moonshots’ that you would aim at. (Be creative and original) Justify your choice by preparing a brief business plan, especially stating the market potential of this emergent technology.
  26. 26. Case Study’s fitment in Management Course
  27. 27. Course Topics Strategy - Teaching objective - - Growth Strategy Innovation Industries in fast-moving, turbulent markets Business planning Tactical vs Strategic Planning Emergent technology Decision Theory - Lateral Thinking - OB Team building and decision – making Presentation of a timeline Ordering of arguments Negotiating with others to gain support for one’s ideas. Influence of founder-CEO on organizational culture. Business Communication Leadership - - Highlighting features of the industry in which Google operates. Exploring the need for & risks involved in emergent technology. Correlating Leadership & Strategy Understanding timelines in Strategy implementation using 3 Horizon’s Model (moving from tactical to strategic to ‘long-term bets.’) Brainstorming to ‘disregard what is possible’. Providing unconventional perspectives on any 2 current problems or offering innovative solutions for the same (creating 2 hypothetical moonshots) Experiential learning - Experiential learning. Communicating assertively & making formal presentations (timelines, brief business plans) - Delving into formative experiences of Larry Page & Sergei Brin. Highlighting attitude towards quality during their PhD & consequent launch of Google. Importance given to innovation and work ethic. -
  28. 28. Case Assessment
  29. 29. Case Assessment • The case is open-ended offering multiple discussion points and opportunities to think out-of-the box. • The focus will be on understanding the emerging technologies and preferences of consumers. • The ability of the candidate to work in a team, think analytically and laterally will be the focus rather than the ‘right solution’ to the case at hand.
  30. 30. Data Sources • • • ideas_the_three_horizons_of_growth • /07/08/googles-moonshots-innovation-or-desperation/ • fasten-your-seatbelts-googles-driverless-car-is-worthtrillions/
  31. 31. Q&A THANK YOU!