How Google Manages KnowledgeOn how the world’s most innovative company manages knowledge
Google – The Innovation Machine;Innovation, the way to create;Knowledge Creation – Enabling Conditions;Google , in the lens of Nonaka;Lessons for the business.Agenda
We are looking at “How Google manages knowledge”only with respect to knowledge creation.We have adapted Nonaka’s theory as a lens of seeingthe case and have identified that his theory on“enabling conditions for knowledge creation” to bethe most apt for the case.The research is on how Google has enabled itsenvironment for knowledge creation throughinnovation.Scope of Study
In Jan 2010, Google launched Nexus One – an elegant touch phone with comprehensive voicerecognition. Since Fall 2008, Google’s Android operating system has powered various phones.But, Nexus One is an extension of aspirations. A reach of passion. Google.Google – The Innovation MachineA constant innovator;The technology leader in internet business;World’s best search engine;A pioneer of the new generation businesses.
Intention Formulation of organizational intention through collectivecommitment.Autonomy Autonomous acts that bring about unexpected opportunities andincreases employee motivation.Fluctuation &Creative Chaos“Breakdown” of routines, habits, or cognitive frameworks leading tointentional chaos. Aids to externalize tacit knowledge.Redundancy Intentional overlapping of information about businessactivities, management responsibilities, and the company as a wholeRequisiteVarietyInternal diversity to match the complexity of environment bycombining information differently, flexibly, and quickly.Knowledge Creation (Nonaka)
Getting the most out of the knowledge worker..At least half a dozen interviews to select the best candidatesAn emphasis on rapid execution with intentional small teamsLetting a thousand flowers bloom – finding ideas all over theplaceIntention @ GoogleLeaders know that it is important for them to createenvironment favorable to innovation
Giving the space to work and the idea to build..Low managerial control and higher degree of autonomyGiving the time to create – explicit investment in innovationNearly half of new products – Adsense,Gmail, Google newsare discoveries of skunk time.Focus is on upstream objectives and downstream results.Autonomy @ GoogleTo sustain high quality employees and to create a huge bank ofideas, motivation is a pre-requisite
Fluctuation @ GooglePromoting the spiral by strengthening commitmentsA freedom to work across teamsPutting smart minds together and allowing them to figure outwho they want to work withThe ability to do things across projects without managerialinterventionA taste to allow changes and to encourage movements acrossteams
Looking for a hit but encouraging a miss..Creativity comes from people bumping into each other and notfrom ordered travel plans.A culture which says “Please fail very quickly, so that you can tryagain”Yields and impressive number of new products ( over 130 as perlatest info)Chaos @ GoogleA taste of failure and chaos with a aptitude to recoup frommistakes is seen across Google.
Making data a multi purpose ingredient..Focus is on data and analytics, and not always chaoticInsights gained from one product are used for developmentof anotherDeployment of a prediction market to reiterate new ideasacross employeesRedundancy @ GoogleTechnology platforms were shared, knowledge was made openfor learning
Allowing diversity to foster new ideas…Understanding the need for innovation and information acrossboundaries – Google in 110 languagesStriving to reach consensus by making the manager as an“aggregator of decisions” and not a “ dictator”Allowing all employees access to information ( internal and NPD)Understanding that “many” means good and “different”means innovativeRequisite Variety @ Google
So, what is unique?A Culture for InnovationMaking money without being evil.Understanding that there is “so much out there to do”Taking data driven decisionsHaving open communication spots – real and virtualAllowing chaotic, random and fluctuated ways of working.Catering to every need – to try and remove any obstacle fromwork.Budgeting innovation into job descriptions for all employees.A paternalistic, analytical method of evaluating performance
A effective combination of select principles has allowedGoogle to be the innovation machine. We have identified themasTechnocratic principles for excellenceUsage of prediction markets to tap knowledgeProviding budgeted innovation timeMaking intellectual stimulation a mandateCreating an environment of comfort – better designed offices,comfortable fringe benefitsEncouraging all-hands meetings often – opening doors ofcommunicationUsing scientific methods to foster a culture of growth,optimism and innovationBusiness Lessons
Enabling conditions of Knowledge creation, as extracted from http://www.trainmor-knowmore.eu/C4F51A9A.en.aspx Edelman Benjamin, E. T. (2011, April 11). Google Inc. Harvard Business Review, pp. 3 - 21. Euchner James, H. A. (2011). The Practice of Innovation: Innovation as Management ofConstraints. Pitney Bowes. INSEAD. (2009, November). Powering the Google engine: innovation is key. Retrievedfrom INSEAD Knowledge Portal: http://knowledge.insead.edu/innovation-google-091123.cfm?vid=339 Iyer Bala, D. T. (2008, April). Reverse Engineering Googles Innovation Machine.Harvard Business Review. Jason, K. (2009, 10 13). How Google really does it. Quarterly, T. (2010, March). How the Internet will change the nature of competition,innovation, and company operations . (E. Schimdt, Interviewer)References