Gopi Kallayil, Google’s chief social evangelist, recently shared the companies 9 principles of innovation at San Francisco’s Dreamforce summit. According to Kallayil, these 9 transferable principles allow any company to innovate.
Here are the principles.
#1 – Innovation comes from anywhere.
A doctor on Google’s staff believed the company had a moral obligation to help those searching for information on suicide. The company then changed the search results to display the number for the National Suicide Prevention hotline.
How are you learning from adjacent fields? If you want to innovate as a communicator, maybe you should watch a comedian or a 2nd grade school teacher. Are you listening and learning from those who have different voices or experiences? Have you considered going to a different kind of conference or bringing in an outside perspective?
#2 – Focus on the user.
The instant search feature (where Google predicts what you will finish typing) saves users time. The company estimates 5,000 years worth of time, actually. All this because they think of the person using the technology, not just the technology.
If you want to make positive change, truly get inside the head of the people you’re serving. What are their hopes, dreams, fears, and frustrations? Relevance is understanding how people think. Too many times, we build stuff or talk about stuff that really interests nobody.
Here’s a simple action step: Read your last newsletter. Is it about your programs or the person reading?
#3 – Aim to be ten times better.
10% improvement leads to incremental change. Google thinks 10 times improvement, a change that will result in revolutionary innovation.
What are you working on that’s worth improving by a factor of 10?
#4 – Bet on technical insights.
Google, not the auto industry, is pioneering the self-driving car.
Google is a technology company, but you don’t have to think in numbers to deploy technological solutions to common problems. Can people text to sign up for something? Can people make recurring donations on your church website? Are you leveraging Facebook? These things aren’t as complicated as you might think. In many cases, volunteers can lead them.
#5 – Ship and iterate.
Google launched the Chrome browser in 2008 and then released an update every six weeks. “You don’t need perfection in your product,” said Kallayil. Instead, ship early and often.
What are you going to launch in the next three months? What idea are you sitting on that needs to launch in beta form? By the way, this might help.
#6 – Give employees 20 percent time.
Google gives employees one day a week to work on a favorite idea. And some of their greatest ideas developed during these times.
Are you taking some of your time to think and dream? If you lead others, are you giving them time and space to do the same? Innovation happens in the margins.
#7 – Default to open processes.
Whether it’s the Android mobile operating system or marketing an app, Google relies on an open ecosystem. When you truly listen to others, and adopt their ideas, innovation happens.
Pastors can ask congregations for sermon ideas. Leaders can ask their teams about meeting effectiveness. Open it up and make it better.
#8 – Fail Well
If you don’t fail often, you’re not trying hard enough. “Failure is actually a badge of honor,” said Kallayil.
Failure really isn’t failure if you learn something. Are you capturing insights from failed projects? How do you capture those learnings?
#9 – Have a mission that matters.
Google believes they are working on things that will impact billions of people. They understand that our work must be compelling.
What are you working on that will matter 100 years from now? Everything else is just busywork.