Google – a new paradigm to cultivate innovation & collective intelligence

 Here are some  notes I came across about how Google fosters collective intelligence through the structure of the organisation, values and culture.

Auklet flock, Shumagins 1986

Auklet flock, Shumagins 1986 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The comments are by Gopi Kallayil (Group Marketing Manager, Google), Bradley Horowitz (VP of Products, Google), Meng Tan (Head of Personal Growth at Google)

  • Google has a healthy disrespect for authority and meetings; we create an environment where engineers (hacker culture) can get into the creative flow
  • Successful companies can create an environment, setting and culture that allows the flow to happen, “not by managing, but tending to garden”
  • Focus on results produced versus effort and time; allow people to manage their own schedules
  • Provide opportunities/environment for “ah moments”; this happens when people are relaxed and having fun
  • Incorporates mindfulness in organization with daily meditation practices, bringing spirit world into daily lives, blessing in email message
  • Strategies include: finding small amount of time each day to do yoga and meditation (team contemplates problems before coming up with solutions)
  • Non-negotiable commitments with self
  • Most important connection is with self (Search Inside Yourself program at Google)
  • Playfulness, increase efficiency and peacefulness – making them a priority (family Fridays)
  • Community and social integration
  • Create a curriculum of Emotional Intelligence (EI) – comes from inner development, attention and mindfulness
  • Continuous improvement and innovation comes from EI
  • Examples of courses provided: stress reduction, mindfulness, empathy, sleep, tea, speaker series
  • Googlish culture– bias toward people who are emotionally connected and altruistic
  • Googlish dress code – don’t be naked (naked is undefined)
  • Looking for “Wisdom aptitude” in candidates
  • Green focus – offer free bikes all over campus for employees to ride to meetings; shuttle bus from San Francisco removes hundreds of cars from the California highways daily
  • Free food – no employee to be more than 200 feet from healthy quality food that is local, organic, sustainable; helps people work and enjoy life together…is good for biz

Enlightened leadership is needed – key elements include:

  • Fair and equitable incentive structure
  • Open management style and structure
  • Do the right thing, make people happy and successful (Be a force for good)
  • Mindfulness – deepen within companies, makes good business sense

Why – Business Benefits:

  • Improves profit – when improve EI studies have proven you increase productivity and efficiency
  • Leadership – best leaders have high EI
  • Happiness – when people are happy they are more creative and productive, not just today but tomorrow too (studies have shown)

Programs must: be backed by science to convince the skeptics; have real business benefits; engender compassion and be transformative; involves consciousness (not creating too much structure, maintaining openness, trust, not micro managed)

Many of these qualities and processes are simple and easy to instigate. I hope this offers some inspiration to those looking to  foster collective intelligence in their organisations.  If you are looking to cultivate these qualities in your own organisation or team, or looking at how you might integrate mindfulness as way to power up innovation  and collective wisdom in your team – then give me a buzz –  I may be able to help. (Lisa on 021 313323) 

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