Monday, March 19, 2012

Innovation @ Google

Is Google still as innovative as it once was? Lately, this question has occupied the attention of the press and blogosphere.

The CSM lauds Google as an innovative company. The main thrust of the article is the race for innovation at the international level - how innovation varies in China vs. Europe vs. America. But the author implicitly endorses Google as being at the forefront of innovation.

James Whittaker, a former Google employee, thinks otherwise. He explains his decision to leave Google, saying, "The Google I was passionate about was a technology company that empowered its employees to innovation. The Google I left was an advertising company with a single corporate-mandated focus." Whittaker goes on to describe how Google missed the social-media boat, leaving Facebook to dominate the hottest internet trend.

As companies grow and mature, growth and innovation invariably slow. Managing a large organization requires formal processes and procedures, and bureaucracy creeps in. Has Google reached that point? What do you think?