Thursday, June 19, 2008

Some Thoughts on Google's Innovation Machine

Reverse Engineering Google's Innovation Machine.
By: Iyer, Bala, Davenport, Thomas H.,
Harvard Business Review,
April, 2008, Vol. 86, Issue 4

Much of what the company does is rooted in its legendary IT infrastructure, but technology and strategy at Google are inseparable and mutually permeable – making it hard to say whether technology is the DNA of its strategy or the other way around.

Google's mission "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful"

The company's managers are strategically patient.

Google owns a network infrastructure consisting of approximately one million computers;

An accelerated product-development life cycle.

Rules its Own Ecosystem

Exercises Architectural Control

Budgets innovation into job descriptions.

Let the market choose: Google allows markets to choose the applications to developed into commercial ventures.

Supports Inspiration with Data

Has a Cultivated Taste for Failure and Chaos

Bala Iyer ( is an associate professor of technology operations and information management at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Thomas H. Davenport ( is the President's Distinguished Professor of Information Technology and Management at Babson College. His most recent book, with Jeanne Harris, is Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning (Harvard Business School Press, 2007).

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