The Google philosophy

The Google philosophy has 5 principles:

  • Work on things that matter,
  • Affect everyone in the world,
  • Solve problems with algorithms if possible (aka automate when possible to increase knowledge reuse),
  • Hire bright people and give them lots of freedom,
  • and don’t be afraid to try new things.

Microsoft’s Bill Gates echoes the fourth point. I recall his three ingredients for success were: smart people, small teams, and excellent tools.

Here’s another intriguing practice: Google requires that its engineers spend 20% of their time working on personal technology projects that have nothing to do with their primary objectives. Perhaps this is a way to prevent a narrow vision, a single-minded strive on sustaining their existing processes and technology, lest they fall prey to some disruptive technology barrelling in from left field.

Christensen said as much in an interview at the MIMC last month; only 80-85% of all R&D investments should be on sustaining innovation.

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