Beyond the amenities, Googlers say the biggest similarity between their company and college is the constant hunt for new ideas. Many of the company’s perks are designed to get Googlers out of their cubicles and talking to one another, over muffins in a microkitchen, on bikes crisscrossing campus and over a pickup game of basketball.
Before | After of Papal Announcement. If there was any doubt about the massive impact of mobile in our lives over the last few years, then this image provided by NBC’s Today Show should put that to rest. It compares two images from St Peter’s Square, one taken during the announcement of Pope Benedict in 2005, and the other for Pope Francis in 2013, and speaks volumes for the changes over that time.
The fatal misconception behind brainstorming is that there is a particular script we should all follow in group interactions.
The lesson of Building 20 is that when the composition of the group is right—enough people with different perspectives running into one another in unpredictable ways—the group dynamic will take care of itself. All these errant discussions add up. In fact, they may even be the most essential part of the creative process.
Although such conversations will occasionally be unpleasant—not everyone is always in the mood for small talk or criticism—that doesn’t mean that they can be avoided.
The most creative spaces are those which hurl us together. It is the human friction that makes the sparks.
There are not that many ideas for internet products that will be really good. It is really all about execution. Facebook too wasn’t a new idea but I think we took the idea and we focused on execution, focused on quality and getting to scale.
Adam D’Angelo, former Facebook CTO
While he makes a number of interesting observations about Apple, Tesla, and universities, I thought his comments on the VC world were right on the money, and this thinking underlies my own motivations around The BizDojo’s role in The Mainframe seed investment fund:
“Christensen said he thinks the venture capital world needs to be disrupted because it is focused too much on making big killings on big investments at a time when there are plenty of good smaller investments to be made on companies that will be disruptive.”
And he rams the point home further:
“Venture capital is always wanting to go up market. It’s like the Rime of the Ancient Mariner. ‘Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink.’ People in private equity complain that they have so much capital and so few places to invest. But you have lots of entrepreneurs trying to raise money at the low end and find that they can’t get funding because of this mismatch. I think that there is an opportunity there.”
I agree, and we’ll be positioning The Mainframe to capitalise.
Clusters are a radical alternative to our traditional notion of teams. They are formed outside a company context, but are hired and paid by companies as a unit, as a permanent part of the company. They manage, govern and develop themselves; define their own working practices and tools; and share out remuneration. Technology trends and tools like the cloud, and collaboration suites, are evolving to make this more and more workable.
Fast Company recently ran an article on the secrets of some of America’s happiest companies. Here are the five basic rules from that article, as summarised by Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Kevin Roberts on his blog:
- Remain committed to perpetual improvement. Support staff to meet their goals and let them learn from mistakes in the process. Develop movement and change. Status quo is not an option.
- Create meaning. Having a meaningful impact in the work we do will always help motivate and elevate.
- Recognize staff. Let staff know that what they are doing, no matter how small the job, is integral to the big picture.
- Humans first. Show empathy and an interest in staff and they will feel more connected and valued as human beings not just workers.
- Integrate. Offer some flexibility to staff so that they can stay engaged with life outside work. Offer flexi time and make sure workers have time to exercise. Being tuned into life outside work helps us plug into work.
- 50% of all coworkers access their work space around the clock
- 71% report a boost in creativity since joining a coworking space
- 62% said their standard of work had improved in a coworking space
- Almost 90% of coworkers report an increase in self-confidence
- 70% of coworkers feel healthier than they did working in a traditional office
- Between a third and half of all workers are flexible and mobile
- 64 percent of coworkers are better able to complete tasks on time
Source: Fast Company
For the first time in the history of western capitalism, talent has more leverage in the economy than capital. This has never happened before. This is a unique moment and this will not last forever.
When I think of design and creating great user experiences, I generally try to think of it in terms of three things: usability, utility, and desirability.
There is a challenge in New Zealand around its procurement culture: it is killing innovation. It is hard to get the support needed to prototype something, because there doesn’t seem to be the same appetite for innovation. There seems to still be a strong culture of risk aversion in New Zealand, which is a shame.
Today, what you want is you want to have resilience and agility, and you want to be able to participate in, and interact with the disruptive things. Everybody loves the word ‘disruptive innovation.’ Well, how does, and where does disruptive innovation happen? It doesn’t happen in the big planned R&D labs; it happens on the edges of the network. Most important ideas, especially in the consumer Internet space, but more and more now in other things like hardware and biotech, you’re finding it happening around the edges.
Sara Beckman, design and innovation expert at Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, brings a slightly different perspective to the application of design thinking to the innovation process.
In a recent interview with Innovation Management, she talks about reframing design thinking as a set of skills that we need to develop to support innovation throughout an organization:
1. Empathy. It is critical for product designers to have empathy for customers. Gaining empathy hinges on good observation skills and understanding not just fundamental use and usability needs, but also the customer’s meaning-based needs.
2. Insight. The ability to generate interesting insights.
3. Divergent Thinking. The ability to reframe and look at a problem on different levels.
4. Story Telling. The ability to tell a new and compelling story.
5. Learning from failure. The ability to rapidly iterate new ideas by prototyping quickly.