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Empowerment

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C OV ER F E AT U RE

Entrepreneurial Innovation at Google
Alberto Savoia and Patrick Copeland, Google

To fully realize its innovation potential, Google encourages all of its employees to think and act like entrepreneurs.

arge organizations have enormous innovation potential at their disposal. However, the innovation actually realized in successful products and services is usually only a small fraction of that potential. The amount and type of innovation a company achieves are directly related to the way it approaches, fosters, selects, and funds innovation efforts. To maximize innovation and avoid the dilemmas that mature companies face, Google complements the time-proven model of topdown innovation with its own brand of entrepreneurial innovation.

L

INNOVATION POTENTIAL
The concept of innovation potential is a critical, but often overlooked, element in the discussion of innovation; defining and understanding this potential is important because it is the source of all innovation within a company.

Intellectual. The company possesses significant knowhow and intellectual property in many areas—most notably in crawling, storing, indexing, organizing, and searching data on a massive scale and with an extremely fast response time. Physical. Google has a network of datacenters as well as a variety of custom, open source, and commercial hardware and software to harness this computing power and make it easily and seamlessly accessible to both customerfacing products and internal tools. Market. Hundreds of millions of people use Google’s products each day. These products generate revenue as well as goodwill that is useful to the company when it needs to try out, and get feedback on, its latest innovations. Leveraged. Google fosters an ecosystem that allows other companies to prosper by providing additional value and content on top of its services. By...

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