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Tips from Googleplex

Tom Sullivan

October 24, 2017
Tom Sullivan

Creating a Culture of Innovation

Last week, I had the opportunity to tour Google’s headquarters along with agency CEOs from around the world as part of the Magnet (Marketing & Advertising Global Network) conference. The three-day conference helped us learn how the cutting-edge use of technology is helping companies and marketers create value. We also got a peek into the future of technology, one that Google is helping to create.

Google’s headquarters in Mountain View is called the Googleplex. It feels somewhat like a college campus with its modern buildings, food courts, walking trails, recreational facilities, volleyball courts and lots of Google-colored bicycles that enable workers (many who look like college students) to get around the 1.5 mile by half-mile campus. At lunch, we were able to choose from a vast array of delicious and healthy culinary options, and to rub shoulders with the Google staff.

During the afternoon, Rabia Khalil Mainwaring of Google’s Marketing Solutions Group, made a presentation on “Creating a Culture of Innovation.” Here are some key takeaways from Rabia’s presentation that helped me understand how the value of a business and a brand can grow exponentially in a culture of innovation.

Rabia kicked off her talk with two powerful statements about the first pillar of innovation: the spirit of innovation.

“If you give people freedom, they will amaze you.”

“You can’t ordain innovation but you can create the environment to foster it.”

She then expounded on three principles that underpin the spirit of innovation:

  1. Have a healthy disregard for the impossible – Google preaches that great is not good enough. Audacious goals are applauded. It wants its staff to think about solving problems in magnitude. Instead of thinking how to incrementally improve something by, say 10 percent, they want people to think about how to improve something by 10x. The latter mindset leads to breakthroughs, while the former to mediocrity.
  2. Pursue innovation, not instant perfection – At Google, doing something fast is better than doing it slow. Google asks its people to launch an idea and to iterate it. It prefers that you fail fast with an initiative rather than waste time perfecting the original idea.
  3. Focus on the end-user – As a marketer, I have preached this for a long time. Many companies focus too much on competitors rather than on consumers. Being in touch with consumers’ needs, inspiring them with fun, easy-to-use solutions and “winning the moments that matter” is what builds trusting, mutually-rewarding, and productive relationships for the long term.

Earlier this year, Google surpassed Apple as the world’s most valuable brand, according to an annual survey by Brand Finance. Are we surprised? Google’s investment in the culture of innovation, employee empowerment and social responsibility solutions has elevated Google’s brand value and improved trust with its consumers.

Insight Tuesday

Check out our CEO in front of Googleplex!