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» Failing Quickly

How Google Boosts the Innovation Quotient by Failing Quickly

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

Google is renowned for encouraging creativity. Consistently ranked as one of the most innovative companies, Google has managed to create a culture of risk taking, which by the way, is positively correlated to both the level and frequency of creativity. As a rule, the company does not aim for 100% perfection at launch. Whether the product is GoogleMaps, GoogleEarth or others within their innovation stable, Google’s mantra is to innovate quickly, design iteratively and to improve continuously.

According to Marissa Mayer, Vice-President of Search Product and User Experience at Google, the question is, “Can you learn enough from the mistakes that you’ve made and the users to iterate very quickly?” Mayer followed this question with an example.

With the launch of GoogleNews, engineers and product managers were “locked in a dead heat” in terms of which final web site feature to complete before launch. Half the team wanted to sort news by date and the other half wanted to sort news by location. In the end, Google chose not to perfect the product in lieu of getting GoogleNews to market quickly. Once launched, users became the tie breaker. Within hours Google received 305 messages from users with 300 asking for sort by date. Though Google launched with a less than perfect product, the company was able to rely on users to tell them where to spend their time and iterated their way to the best solution. To view the video of Marissa Mayer’s full presentation see Marissa Mayer at Stanford University.