Somewhat ironically, it’s not a very imaginative title. But ‘How Google Works’ by Eric Schmidt (yes the former head of the company) and Jonathan Rosenberg is a new book that’s intended to be a ‘how to’ guide for other businesses.
They make the case that the key ingredient today is to build teams, corporate cultures and entire business models around ‘smart creatives‘. So who are these people? The authors describe them as impatient, outspoken risk-takers who are easily bored and change jobs frequently.
To my way of thinking this is a pretty good definition of someone who’s very likely to be fired in a company with conservative management. Which means by default that Google has an upper management team which is anything but. So in reality, there are two requirements: One is being able to foster ‘smart creatives’ within your organization. And second is ensuring that whoever’s in charge knows how to get along with, and in fact encourage these individuals.
Here’s the second important point made by the authors: In the past, rare bursts of innovation by small teams such as IBM’s early development of Fortran and Apple’s creation of the 1st Macintosh were the exception. The rule was many levels of corporate bureaucracy – where ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ and perhaps more importantly ‘don’t rock the boat’ were the rules of the day.
But according to the authors, ultra-fast decision making, flexibility and flat organizational models are the hallmarks of a business that will do well today. According to Schmidt,’Every major corporation needs a software and a data strategy. If not, you have no real strategy.’ The authors state that smart creatives are the key to developing both of these, and ultimately, product success.