TEDxKiruna proudly presents Dr Annika Steiber as a speaker at TEDxKiruna 13 March 2014. Annika Steiber is one of few researchers who have been studying Google from the inside for almost 1 year and tried to answer the question what drives Google’s innovation capacity. Here she is interviewed as of the speakers at upcoming TEDxKiruna on 13th of March 2014.
Google is the world's second most valuable company after Apple and is regarded as one of the world's most innovative companies. How do they remain at the forefront and what can other companies learn from Google? Annika Steiber, advisor at Strategos Inc and researcher, has been looking for answers at the Googleplex headquarters for almost a year. Her TED talk in Kiruna point to a new type of management that is in line with the times.
Tell us briefly about your research and what you wanted to explore on Google?
In the mid 2000's I started taking an interest in how companies can manage and organize themselves to improve innovation ability. In 2009 I made an agreement with Google through Chalmers, to study their management model and how it drives innovation in Google.
High innovation ability is something that companies in all industries seek: what is it and what are the advantages of it?
With today's high rate of change in most industries, companies need to get better at constant innovation, preferably in a way that are disruptive for the industry or in several industries. This is an art that very few companies have mastered, and an increasingly critical business skill.
The individual has a strong position at Google and they put a lot of energy into finding the right employees. Tell us a bit about Google's philosophy of recruitment and composition of management and the board?
The ability to disrupt rules and behaviour begins and ends with people. People's ability to innovate depends on past experiences, but can also be developed and strengthened. Google secures to find innovative people and then support them in their efforts to change the world. Dreams in the form of for example Google's powerful vision and mission are strong driving forces that create engagement, there are few people, if any - that really goes off on rational arguments . This requires a radically different view of employees from the one we had in the early 1900s - that unfortunately still exist in many companies.
Top management and board of Google consist of people who think big, have relevant experience and often entrepreneurs themselves. Their job is to lead the company in a way that allows talented, driven people to flourish, while products arrive in time and shareholders are happy.
What advice do you have for companies and
entrepreneurs who want to accelerate innovation in their companies?
It is important to understand that this ability is not something companies just create. It requires a high level of insight and skill of management and the board. It requires, among other things, an understanding that this ability takes time to develop, just as, for example, Lean Thinking has demanded time from business leaders and change agents. For innovation ability to survive, it requires a constant commitment and focus of management and the board, to be able to coexist with productivity thinking.
Can you describe the work environment and the atmosphere at the Googleplex?
Focused, friendly and helpful, collaborative (teamwork), respect for the individual, great humility.
What’s the message you want to convey with your TED talk in Kiruna?
To Sweden, Swedish industry and the public sector: take the issue of constant innovation very seriously and create a clarity of what we are to become a world leader on, a national and corporate culture imbued with innovative thinking, as well as expertise and skills that lead to continuous innovation. Innovation cannot be a random event: other countries are running way too fast for that. It is the only way for Sweden to survive and continue to be an interesting elite player on the world stage, and a strategic partner for other leading countries.