Before the Google coronavirus crisis, the company had started experimenting with a new way to work. Google commissioned sociologists to study the social dynamics of “Generation Z” and asked them to create a new design. The result was something that is reminiscent of Ikea’s infamous Pods, but with the ability to reconfigure the space in an hour. Google is also testing the concept of “Whisper Courses,” in which managers can serve as both student and teacher, and receive feedback for their efforts.
The company avoids the classic innovation pitfall by documenting every step in its innovation process. The company also incorporates feedback loops in its innovation projects, which means researchers work directly with product teams to find new and better ways to do things. In addition, a team called the Brain captures all the project’s information across the company. That way, Google can quickly identify promising innovation areas that are ripe for a new product.
This ethos is one of the key components of Google’s innovation strategy. Google employees are encouraged to draw a line between their personal projects and their day-to-day obligations, and this makes the company’s innovation culture as much a reflection of the people who work there as it is of the company as it is of the products and services they create. The fact that they are able to take on personal projects that benefit society is a significant motivator for many of the employees at Google.