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I believe that there are a lot of things we could learn from Google even when they take a wrong step and make a wrong decision!
About a year ago, Google introduced a new product called “Google Wave” which was presented as the new and revolutionary way to communicate online. It combined instant messaging, documents sharing, emails, and many other features that promised instant interaction on the network.
Few days ago, Google decided to stop developing “Wave” as a single product; simply, It did not accomplish its targeted goals!
Here are some Google lessons:
- The company that does not fear innovation is the same company that does not fear setbacks. There is no doubt that Google spent a lot of resources on “Wave” and was, in a way or another, betting that it will change the online interactive scene. But the moment it felt that the product is not harmonious with customers, the company had the gut to stop it!
- A message to customers; we are here to serve you. We thought that a new product will be beneficial to you all, but once we sensed that you did not like it, we stopped it and we are working on something else to meet (or exceed!) your expectations.
- A message to employees; the company is ready to believe in and support your innovative ideas. We are ready to accept the risks to make a difference in our customers lives. And if that idea did not make it, we are ready to accept the consequences. Just go there and bring us some fresh and innovative ideas.
All in all, innovation management does not mean that all ideas should be introduced to the market without proper market analysis, but it certainly means that a company should know when to retreat and learn its lesson instead of being stubborn and start losing customers loyalty.
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I had the chance to be in a casual meeting with one of those big guys in one of Saudi companies. There came a discussion about companies’ strategic plans and work procedures. This gentleman said something that really startled me! Unfortunately, I did not have the chance to discuss that idea with him more throughly but to simply put his concept, it is something like : ‘let there be rules, respect them, but do not follow them!!’
Now in my humble understanding, whether it is Google, Apple, or Amazon, they all have some kind of business processes. There is no way a business would be able to conduct its daily activities or long term objectives without setting its work on a clear path … and that clear path is nothing but a group of processes.
[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=manager&iid=7281429″ src=”0/5/a/4/Closeup_of_a_9c00.jpg?adImageId=9909151&imageId=7281429″ width=”234″ height=”156″ /]However, processes should not be confused with bureaucratic-old-school kind of paper work and hundreds and hundreds of signatures. While such bureaucratic rules are always treated as if they are coming out of holy books, there is a room in modern processes to be flexible and they are always subject to modifications and enhancements.
In todays world, businesses are faced with tough challenges and frequently changing market rules. For that, it is necessary for organizations to have the ability to adapt, change course, and interact with their environment. This cannot be done by letting everybody working on his/her own without any kind of direction and guidance and, of course, it cannot happen by imposing rules that have been around for the past 50 years.
Even innovation and ‘thinking out of the box’ have their own rules that turn them into useful and practical models instead of wasted time, efforts, and resources.
I really hope that I misunderstood this big shot executive and hope that he really has some logical explanation to his strange idea, don’t you think?
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