Google: Reaching for the Moon

December 9th, 2016, KINTalks with Anneke Bakker

The warm Christmas atmosphere (tree included) and the ice-cold drinks proved to be the perfect setting for an instructive presentation by Anneke Bakker about Google and ‘moonshot thinking’. As an industry manager at Google Netherlands, Anneke was able to give the crowded room a unique glimpse into the organization.

She started her presentation with a brief introduction on Google. Together with other internally created (e.g. Chrome) and externally acquired brands (e.g. YouTube) Google is now part of holding company Alphabet. And of course, the G stands for Google.

Anneke also focused on innovation at Google. Google sets three pillars for innovation: innovation as a culture, a focus on problem solving, and building open platforms. Google does not have an innovation department. Instead, innovation is embedded in every inch of the organization. It’s important to share knowledge, celebrate failure, and enable employees to spend time on personal projects. Google further emphasises problem solving through constant prototyping and also learning and building open platforms to engage with the community.

An example of Google’s innovation pillars in practice, is ‘think 10x’ or ‘moonshot thinking’. With moonshot thinking, Google aims for a 10x improvement of what currently exists. It is a combination of a huge problem, a radical solution, and a breakthrough technology. A moonshot-project Google is currently working on is ‘project loon’ (click). In this project Google aims to create worldwide access to the internet by using balloons.

In the last part of the presentation the audience engaged in a lively Q&A with Anneke. This enabled the audience to ask all sorts of questions, making also this KINTalks edition both an instructive and interactive event.

Take-aways:

  • Google is part of a holding company called Alphabet;
  • Innovation at Google is characterized by innovation as a culture, a focus on problem solving, and building open platforms;
  • Moonshot thinking is combining huge problems, radical solutions, and breakthrough technologies.

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