Innovation at Google – a day in the life | Knowledge Management

This was a fantastic webinar from KMWorld and Google:

Innovation @ Google: A Day In The Life

On March 11, 2008, Naveen Viswanatha, Sales Engineer at Google Enterprise gave a really great presentation. 

My notes from the presentation: 

  • Broad background of Google and Google Enterprise, touting customer base, etc.
  • Internet Evolution – from information to distribution & communitaction to network & platform.
  • Chronology of how Google evolved with the internet – timeline with their many online products.
  • “Innovation is at the core of Google’s competiveness.” 
  • 70-20-10 Rule – i.e. Google splits its business focus: 70% focus on core business (Search, Ads, Apps); 20% on things with strong potential (blogger, Picassa, News, Pack); 10% Wild and Crazy (offline adds, wifi, transit).   
  • How Google hires people – the hiring process is “painfull.” (See Fast Company article: “Our hiring process is legendary”
  • Google has a relatively flat management structure. 
  • Internal tool called “Snippets” (a nag email: what did you work on last week? – what are you working on this week?) – so you can track your work.  AND it is a knowledge-base tool because everyone else can search all other snippets and get information on what they may be working on. 
  • Google Ideas database – post and review ideas within Google – people can comment on and vet out the ideas.  The ideas might turn into an actual project.  [plus, it records the things that are Google’s intellectual property] – it uses the “wisdom of the crowds” philosophy.
  • Innovation is a collaborative process at Google –  “Innovation = Discovery + Collaboration (+ Fun)” 
  • First day at Google is “like drinking from a firehose”
  • Any questions – go to “Moma” – Google’s internal knowledge base – search of their key knowledge areas. 
  • Can look for experts within the company – Google expert search within Moma – lots of an individual’s information is searchable (including resumes, which they encourage people to keep up to date).   
  • Search results within Moma – you can take notes in the search results (of the things that you are searching) – uses Google Docs [I used Google Docs to take notes for this blog post] – and you can publish the notes — it publishes it out to the people you want (they use gMail, chat, Goolge Calendar – can overlay colleague’s calendars on top of your own so that you can schedule meetings, etc.). 
  • Regarding the notes – others can make changes to your notes (which you created in Google Docs) in real time – you can see the changes on your screen. 
  • It’s all about the “…ability to find and leverage collective wisdom of the organization…” 
  • How are experts are established?  Expert databases are hard to keep upto date.  So they leverage the things that people do already: resumes, blogs, wikis, Snippets, Moma, etc.
  • Are these tools avaiable to the public?  Yes and no.  Search is the key enabler to tap into the repositories that are already in use at your organization (touting Google Search Appliance). 

The event is archived: here  

I really encourage people to check this out.  Especially those who are new to KM.  This presentation gave a glimpse into Google as a company and it shows off some great ways that any organization can approach KM. 

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5 thoughts on “Innovation at Google – a day in the life | Knowledge Management

  • March 12, 2008 at 8:26 am
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    Thanks for your notes! I really liked the Snippets idea too. My department do the same thing but in Excel files (“Top 5”), but this feels rather clunky. Responding to an email seems so much easier, particularly when it goes into a central and searchable repository.

  • March 12, 2008 at 9:36 am
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    Thanks for the comment, Jack. Snippets seems like a great idea. I have been trying to come up with a non-intrusive way to keep better track of (smaller) group projects. I think that a wiki would be great for tracking and collaborating on the projects in greater detail, but a Snippets-type app would be great to track the master list.

  • March 16, 2008 at 5:08 pm
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    The Google presentation was very informative about how they are driving an innovation culture. The notes you took are great and helpful for reminders. Companies that are looking to drive a similar innovation culture needs similar tools such as BrightIdea.com since Google’s tools are internal to them. An integrated innovation and idea management platform has huge ROIs.

  • March 19, 2008 at 10:29 am
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    I’d very much like to see this web cast, but it seems to have been removed from KMWorld very quickly. Does anybody know if it has been archived or published elsewhere? I wrote to KMWorld, but there has been no reply so far.

  • March 23, 2008 at 1:25 am
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    Yes I have been looking to the same podcast and for some reason it has been removed as well. It is a secret sauce what do you expect?

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