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Summary: “Innovation at Google" by Patrick Copeland

posted Sep 26, 2011, 9:52 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Dec 15, 2011, 1:13 PM by Victor Reina ]

http://www.infoq.com/presentations/Innovation-at-Google

"Every company or person has innovation model but there’s a lousy translation that happens that your ability to innovate get lost depending on what innovation model you’re using."

You can radicalize people in your company and get anything you can get with any of the other models using the next tips.

Build the right ‘it’ instead of building ‘it’ right

You can take an idea and implement it in a perfect way and fail but if you take the right idea even if you can screw up to no end and still be successful.

Innovators beat ideas

“Innovation is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration” –Thomas Alba Edison

There are a lot of ideas but few of them get implemented; If you want innovation don’t look for ideas, look for innovators. An innovator is someone who takes an idea and makes it practical. It doesn’t matters if an idea fails, what matters is that you keep trying.

Pretotypes beat prototypes

Even if an idea sounds cool it might be a false positive because you missed something or the user just didn’t like it.

A long ago IBM was interested in making a software so you could dictate to the computer, they interviewed many clients and most of them wanted it, but developing voice recognition technology was going to take a lot of time and money, that was a huge risk; What they did was to test it earlier, having a client talk to a microphone while someone wrote everything (without the client knowing). After that they interviewed the clients again and most of them didn’t want it anymore.

You might be wondering what a “pretotype” is, what IBM used to test their software without developing anything at all was a pretotype. A pretotype is a way to test something earlier pretending.

A prototype might take you days, weeks or months and money while a pretotype only takes a few hours or a week, because of that a pretotype helps you make sure you’re doing the right thing as early as possible, you have to use it and make other people use it.

Hit vs. FLOP

FLOP stands for Failure in Launch Operations or Premise

Hit vs. FLOP is a great way to obtain usage data by using pretotypes, let’s pretend we’re making apps, all you have to do is get a bunch of people to try your app. Are you growing on customer base? Take a few weeks to get the data and see if it was a hit or a FLOP; Even if the usage data is low if the returning users remain constant it can be considered a hit.

Fail fast.

You might think that IBM failed but what they did was the right thing: fail fast.
The more time you spend on something the less you want to quit that’s why it’s pretty important to fail fast, that way you spend less money and can try lots of ideas, even if an idea sounds bad it might turn out to be good (think about Twitter or Facebook).

Everyone is copying each other.

You can take a cool idea and make it better, just copy the good stuff and get rid of the bad stuff (take a look at Google+ vs. Facebook or the different browsers), or add a unique advantage so that people will prefer yours.

Iterate early & often.

The best way to have quality software is following the next cycle: Invent, test, test, test, and repeat. Run multiple tests with small subsets of target population to get fast usage data and base your decisions based on it.

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