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Don't fear failure in innovation: Google

Rebecca Merrett | Sept. 26, 2012
If there is one company that knows what it means to dare to try something different, it's Google. The company's chief technology advocate, Michael Jones, spoke with CIO Australia about innovation and how important it is for CIOs to create a company culture where failure is not feared, rather is seen as part of the process of innovation.

"They have created a punishment system in their company that [doesn't] reward people for trying to be innovative. If you punish them as soon as they fail then all you'll have will be... a workforce that learns never to try new things because you're going to punish them if it doesn't work out. A lot of companies are in that position.

"Personally, from Google's point of view, that makes it easier for us. We have giant companies and competitors who seem like they are asleep at the wheel because their employees are afraid to try things. We have ability to have equally smart employees as they have but we tell them, 'Go ahead and try and we'll see what happens.' Sometimes things don't work as well as we'd hope, sometimes Google cancels products... We are willing to try."

Jones believes that when it comes to innovation there is always something to keep striving for, even for a company like Google.

"You might think that Google has got search figured out, but from our point of view we haven't even [got it] figured out at all.

"Our goal is to help the future happen sooner, help people have the benefit of information that will make their lives better as quickly as possible. In many cases that requires not only what's possible but rethinking what's desirable or rethinking what things mean.

"It's not so much technology to have more technology. It's more using technology to make things easier for people [to do things] they already want to do; to facilitate actions and patterns of normal human behaviour that already exists."



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