Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Innovation - Google's Got It, How 'bout You?

Fast Company Magazine's March cover story features The World's 50 Most Innovative Companies. This is an important article for anyone in business, because large or small, we all want our companies to be innovative. The businesses that soar to the top, and those we admire always seem to be those that look beyond the bottom line and reach for creating something exciting.

I have never spoken to a single entrepeneur who says:

"I want my business to grow up to be a stuffy, run-of-the-mill company that takes no risks and where employees just show up to collect a paycheck. I desire to have an organization where my people feel excluded from the decision making and long-term vision. I want this company to stand for nothing and those who work for me to be mediocre in all their endeavors. My goal is to just create another company that is lost in the muck of blah. Being reactionary beats being proactive any day!".

Never, Never, Never does a CEO want that for his company! Yet that is what many companies become.

Google comes in first place on this seventh annual list of fifty. The magazine goes on to interview 15 employees of Google, who share their personal experiences as to what makes this company a spectacular place. In reading these comments, that come from people with titles like "Green Energy Czar", "Director of User Experience", and "Executive Chef" (yes, they have multiple restaurants on their campus, The Googleplex, and require a full time chef to oversee the operations. Kinda cool), you start to see what makes truely innovative companies prosper.

The best quote in the article comes from Tim Armstrong, president of advertising and commerce in North America:

"I tell new employees, 'At Google, there are rocks and a stream. You either become a rock, and the stream goes around you, or you get in the stream and move things along and start adding value.' People here don't start with conclusions. They start with questions. If you're open-platform, respectful of others, and really driven to execute, you'll be successful."

You are either a rock or part of the stream. Wow. Great analogy, and one we can all understand if we have spent any time in the business world. I don't know about you, but I want to be part of the stream! But look around, there are lots and lots of big rocks.

If innovation is our ticket to victory, then we should all learn from Google and the other 49 companies profiled by Fast Company. Apple, Facebook, Nike, Amazon, News Corp., Disney, Target, Whole Foods, Cisco, Toyota, Microsoft, BMW and the others all embrace and empower their people for the power they bring to create tomorrow's success.

Have A Great Day.


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