Information is an important part of the decision-making and knowledge acquisition processes. Although the information has been available to people for a long time, it was not organized or easily accessible. Initially, there were only dubious means of obtaining information, and therefore, people could legally acquire either outdated or irrelevant versions of it. In addition, there were problems with sharing information. The advent of the Internet, while useful, did not resolve the aforementioned challenges. People could use the Internet to access information, but it was still neither organized nor in a useful manner. This fact led to the appearance of Google Inc., created in order to solve the problem of unorganized and inaccessible information. The company’s pioneers felt that it was imperative to have the world’s information organized and accessible to people in an easy and useful manner. Consequently, the Google search engine was developed. Continuous innovations and management of change led to the improvement of the search engine. As technology advanced, Google diversified its product portfolio in order to serve a broader spectrum of consumers. The company developed various services and products that have changed people’s lifestyles, and currently, Google is the world’s largest company. The company’s success is attributed to its innovation capabilities. Additionally, Google exhibits appropriate management of change, which has enhanced its response to the changing market trends and advances in technology. It is apparent that effective management of change and innovations both result in the growing success of the company.
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The paper analyzes the management of change and innovation in Google, the world’s leading search engine with the headquarters in the United States. Google is the only company that has managed to develop a broad range of services and products. The company’s product and service portfolio range from online services to wearable devices and self-driven cars. Google’s inventions have enabled people to view maps and read directions online. Furthermore, the company has enhanced the global transfer of funds via email. Google’s innovative products and services are used almost in every aspect of life. However, the company has made these achievements through its appropriate change and innovation management efforts, aimed to meet current technological and market requirements. Google’s creativity and innovation strategies have provided the world with numerous products and services that have changed people’s lives for the better. The research has established that the spirit of continuous innovations shared by Google’s co-founders was the reason that led to the company’s creation. Google has become the world’s largest company that offers a broad range of products and services that meet the requirements of current technological trends. Consequently, Google is also the most popular company in the world due to the innovative nature of its wide range of services and products. Appropriate management of change and innovation through prioritization is important in enhancing efficient performance. For instance, Google’s search engine is the most reliable one due to continuous innovations and improvements. The company does not prioritize money but concentrates on the needs of its users instead. Even though Google seeks profit from its products and service offers, its main focus is on the fulfillment of the users’ needs first. Based on its motto, “Don’t Be Evil”, Google has ensured that it provides customer need-fulfilling services and products in the market. Radical and incremental innovations have led to the development of modern technology services and products by Google. Additionally, innovation drivers have encouraged Google to invent the self-driven car and other high-tech services and products. All the Pentathlon Framework elements are appropriately integrated in Google’s invention processes. The report recommends that Google manage changes and innovations appropriately in order to improve the already existing products and services. In addition, Google should address issues regarding ethical concerns and the privacy of users. Google’s continuous innovations and introduction of new products and services will lead to the creation of innovative strategies that will enhance the company’s superior performance.
Google Inc., commonly known as Google, is a global technology company with headquarters in Mountain View, California, in the United States. It is renowned for its search engine, which handles more than 70% of the world’s online search requests (Hosch & Hall, 2015). The corporation offers other online and offline services and products, such as advertising, software, email services, data storage, hardware, and cloud computing (Google Inc., n.d.b). Additional services and products include Internet analytics, Web app, surfing via Chrome browser, and operating system development. Google is considered to be one of the top high-tech companies due to its broad product portfolio and size. Its success is attributed to its original search tools and advertising.
Google was founded in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Stanford University (Hosch & Hall, 2015). It operated as a private company approximately for five years. On 18 August, 2004, Google went public by offering more than 19 million shares of Class A common stock to the public on Wall Street (Google Inc., n.d.a). Currently, Google is a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., after the reorganization in 2015. The company is still in charge of advertising, maps, Internet search, apps, Android mobile operating system, and YouTube. On the other hand, other ventures, such as Calico, Google X, and Nest, were divided into separate and independent firms, functioning under Alphabet Inc. Additionally, Brin, Page, and Schmidt accepted the responsibilities of Alphabet’s President, CEO, and Executive Chairman respectively, while Sundar Pichai became the new CEO of Google.
Google’s sole objective is to make the world’s information organized, globally accessible, and useful. Therefore, the company seeks to create the premium user experience possible through the creation of appropriate services and products. Google prioritizes users over everything (Google Inc, n.d.c). The company also values the development of new products and the influence of its global presence. Therefore, changes and innovations are paramount in the execution strategies development, aimed to achieve the aforementioned goals.
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Google has been offering advertising services in order to boost client companies’ marketing efforts while promoting its own brand. The company does not hide information from its users. For instance, it ensures that users are aware of all accessible advertisement links by creating the “sponsored link”. The company embraces appropriate change management and innovations to increase its market coverage and acceptance. Appropriate change and innovations management through prioritization contributes to the appearance of the excellent market and financial performance (Zalan, 2016c). The infrastructure of the company guarantees users fast and efficient search. The paper examines Google’s effectiveness in change and innovation management and proposes viable technologies that the company may adopt in order to sustain successful innovative processes.
1.2 Google’s Innovation Trends
Google has exhibited innovations in every aspect of its operations. It happens through iteration and innovations that the company applies in regard to well-working products or services, later improving them in surprising ways (Brin & Page, n.d). Google’s reputation is built on its capability of developing innovative products, services, and technologies that change the way the world operates. The company is committed to ensuring that its current users’ needs are met appropriately, and the future needs are monitored intently. Google has been launching various products and services innovations that have made people’s lives easier. The company focuses on providing products and services that meet the current consumers’ needs efficiently. Thus, the company should ensure the existence of effective change management and innovations by identifying the current market’s needs and by developing products and services that meet or exceed such requirements.
Google has not adopted a particular innovation model for its projects. Therefore, some innovation projects are based on the open model, while others follow the pattern of the closed model. Additionally, there are projects that adopt neither the open model nor the closed model. For instance, Android and Chrome were developed by using the open innovation model (Savoia & Copeland, 2011). However, sometimes Google adopts the closed model for its projects in order to surprise the market. Therefore, the models the company uses can be both open and closed, depending on the company’s business needs at a given time. Google Wave, however, was developed by using a pure closed innovation model.
Separately, Google adopts the top-down and the entrepreneurial innovation models. The top-down model entails the creation of an entity or several entities for research and advanced development purposes. Google chooses and utilizes the most ambitious and long-term projects. For instance, Google Translate is a top-down innovation. In order to achieve its goals, Google hired many leaders in the industry and gave them time to innovate at their own pace. That is how the company managed to introduce a feature that enhances sending of instant messages in real time by Chat users who speak different languages (Savoia & Copeland, 2011). The driverless car project is also considered to be a top-down innovation. Entrepreneurial innovation has been utilized by Google in all aspects as well, in order to sustain its competitive advantage. Therefore, innovation is open to all employees, and every model imitates a start-up experience.
2.1 The Need for Change and Innovation Management at Google
The pioneers of Google believe that the company’s work itself is already an innovation. Therefore, management of company ensures that all ideas of innovations are fully supported. For instance, the company is structured as cross-functional corporation — teams are used for management purposes, and this supports the concept of innovations. Every Google employee is highly valued as an important part of the company’s success. Innovations can be successful at Google through the use of a structure that entails both functions and projects. Management has instituted an open culture that recognizes ability. Additionally, Google employs talented and committed people in order to fuel its innovation spirit. The company is required to present the innovative products to the markets very quickly, given that its work in regard to innovations should be done in a timely manner.
The company is required to offer an extensive array of products and services that correspond to technological changes in the market. Consequently, Google has been working hard to ensure that its payment business, Google Wallet, becomes an international service. The Gmail P2P Money Transfer service competes with PayPal and Apple Pay. Lunden (2015) indicates that the service enables users to send money in the form of an “attachment” through Gmail. Additionally, the company has launched point-of-sale services in some countries. Such services allow users to use a Google Wallet app on various operating systems, such as Android and iOS, in order to make payments to merchants. According to EY (n.d), Google Wallet is a leader in terms of awareness and adoption of US proximity mobile payments solutions. Separately, Google has partnered with other payment providers to increase the number of merchants that use its Instant Buy API online. Therefore, Google has embraced innovations in order to boost safety and efficiency in payments transfer. For instance, most of the company’s innovations focus on how smartphones and other portable devices can be used for making payments globally. Consequently, Google’s inventions are meant to enhance fast, safe, and easier payments.
The company faces challenges regarding sustenance of its search engine’s performance. It means that the company is obliged to continue to embrace various innovations. Google’s search engine has been undergoing routine improvements aimed to make it better and faster, in order to fulfill the aforementioned requirement. Users are assured of the possibility of making advanced searches to obtain relevant results (Bonilla, 2015). Further innovations by Google integrate the use of artificial intelligence — thus, computers have been taught to understand humans. For instance, the auto complete function enables the search engine to predict the most likely words or phrases that users intend to enter as they type, and even to load the associated results instantaneously (Schwartz, 2014). Consequently, the search engine guarantees efficiency and saves the users’ time.
Google’s motto “Don’t be Evil” obliges the company to act in a moral way. Therefore, the company decided to embrace changes and innovations to include helpful information to users of the search engine. For instance, the company has configured the search engine to provide a toll-free National Suicide Prevention Hotline number for those contemplating suicide as they enter the search phrase “how to commit suicide”. Therefore, such users can call the provided phone number to get help, rather than committing suicide. The service is now available in several countries.
Also, Google is obliged to fulfill its promise of focusing on the users first and letting others things follow. As such, the company is required to ensure effective management of change and innovations. Thus, innovations have been used to enhance a significant increase in the speed of the search engine, which has resulted in the instant display of results. The innovations were implemented despite the complaints by Google’s salespeople that speedy display of search results significantly reduced the time the users spent viewing adverts. However, the improvement has led to many benefits, because many users continued using the search engine. Moreover, the high speed saved users’ time and let them willingly view and even search the adverts.
The requirement to continue innovating led to the invention of Google Books, meaning that users can access books online. Google’s pioneers managed to invent an automatic text book and magazine scanner that does not require one to manually turn a book’s pages while scanning. Currently, limited and full view Google Books are available online. More than thirty million books have been scanned, making Google one of the largest online libraries (Wu, 2015). Readers, students, and other interested parties can access information from books available online. Google Scholar is closely related to Google Books — the index houses peer-reviewed online journals and scholarly books from American and European publishers. It is an ideal information platform for researchers, scholars, and other people.
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The requirement of continuous innovation led to Google’s invention of Gmail, one of the world’s safest web mails. Additionally, Google’s social networking and identity service is popular among users. It should be also noted that the idea of driverless cars was developed by engineers at Google. It was motivated by the fact that the majority of traffic deaths are caused by human error. A self-driving car works by using Google Maps, Google Earth, and Street View Cars. After successful experimentation of the implemented innovations, the cars started to be used by people. They also help the blind, as they go shopping on their behalf and carry out various errands.
2.2 Pentathlon Framework in Google’s Management of Change and Innovation
Google Inc. adopts the major elements of the Pentathlon Framework in managing changes and innovations. According to Zalan (2016a), companies should have an innovative strategy to enable them to manage changes and innovations successfully. Similarly, Google has incorporated the five elements of the Pentathlon Framework in its management of changes and innovations. Therefore, changes and innovations management at Google entails the effective use of an innovation strategy, generation of ideas, prioritization, implementation, people, and organization itself.
2.2.1 Innovation strategy. Successful companies use innovations in order to create a competitive advantage, because they result in the development of new products and services. Consequently, such companies are able to satisfy current consumers’ needs by availing the innovative products and services that are in line with their lifestyle and technological advancement. Innovation refers to the development of new products and services, and the improvement of the already existing products. Google has been using innovations by following the aforementioned aspects. Zalan (2016a) notes that the production methods included target markets, suppliers, and innovation processes used by a company in order to enhance the company’s competitive advantage. Therefore, product innovations should be merged with other factors, such as service processes, efficiency, and convenience, in order to guarantee the competitive advantage as the production innovation alone is easily replicable. Google offers various products and services by using various approaches to meet the clients’ needs. Moreover, the company upgrades its services and products in order to avoid imitation from rivals and to exceed the consumers’ needs.
Google’s innovation strategy is based on an eight-point model. The first element of the model is the focus on the user, which advocates building of a client-centric business. The company is open to suggestions of the crowd to help it innovate and develop every idea, since ideas can come from anywhere (Kotler, 2016). Google focuses on thorough thinking about all the ideas, but their implementation starts as a slow process. The company’s employees always test its capability by taking big risks, because Google is not afraid of failing. Other tenets of the model include early presentation of innovations, iteration of ideas, accommodation of all innovation ideas, and engaging in activities that can transform the world. As noted by Zalan (2016a), an organization should concentrate on the stakeholders’ needs, especially on the customers’ satisfaction. Google’s frequent inventions show that the company will continue to manage changes and innovations in order to meet future consumers’ needs of accessing useful information and improving their living standards.
2.2.2 Idea generation. Creativity and knowledge management are paramount to Google’s management of changes and innovations. Therefore, Google hires talented, hardworking, and creative people, those who are capable and able to learn. The company’s organizational structure and management philosophy support the entrepreneurial innovation. The use of groups such as human resources, product management, engineering, sales, finance, and operations that are guided by vice presidents, directors, project leaders, and managers, enhances creativity and knowledge management. Managers at Google are charged with the responsibility of guiding rather than controlling (Savoia & Copeland, 2011). The flat organizational structure increases the number of projects pursued by employees, and accelerates the time they need to reach out to the market. Engineers are allowed to use 20% of their working hours to pursue their own projects, which are outside their official area of responsibility. This approach promotes deeper thinking and instills an entrepreneurial mindset among the workers. Furthermore, the company allows its employees to spend some short time sleeping at the workplace. Rewarding of the successful innovations enhances creativity and knowledge management.
2.2.3 Idea prioritization and selection. Google’s employees come up with numerous ideas and projects — however, not all of them can create a significant change if implemented. Google decides on the most relevant projects that should be implemented to address the current consumers’ needs, steering the company’s entrepreneurial success. Ideas that result in the development of products and services that address immediate consumers’ needs are implemented first. Therefore, Google has been funding and supporting ideas that result in the creation of products and services which enhance convenience and efficiency. The company seeks to satisfy its users first, and other things come as secondary. Therefore, ideas that enhance customers’ satisfaction are prioritized by Google. Moreover, ideas that enhance Google’s competitive advantage are also highly ranked for implementation. Companies like Google should always seek ways to always meet or exceed the needs of their most important stakeholders — the consumers (Zalan, 2016b). Google seeks to ensure that users receive products and services that increase convenience, efficiency, and security.
2.2.4 Idea implementation. Every innovation strategy that Google has implemented focuses on the user. Continuous innovations allow companies with a sustained financial and market performance to continue sustaining their competitive advantage (Zalan, 2016a). In Google’s case, the remarkable market performance and continuous innovations have led to the creation of new products and services, aimed to dynamically meet the customers’ needs and the requirements of the market. Moreover, competition in the market and the need to innovate in correspondence to the advancements in technology has influenced the way Google implements the ideas. The company’s annual increase in revenue and this year’s quarterly financial results are the proof of the successful management of idea implementation (Appendix B).
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2.2.5 People and organization. Google’s focus on users requires the involvement of all stakeholders in its innovation strategies. Employees and management are involved in change management, while the ideas from the consumers and other organizations are used in innovation processes. Therefore, Google works with people, as it believes that ideas can come from everywhere. Research organizations, other companies, Google employees, users, and educational institutions are all involved in the company’s innovation efforts. Consequently, idea generation and implantation are enhanced through the collaboration of Google and all its stakeholders. Internally and externally generated ideas are utilized by Google in innovation processes. Google’s performance in the stock market confirms its success in changes and innovations management. For instance, the company’s net income and earnings per share have been increasing during this year (Appendix C and Appendix D). Only the companies that involve all stakeholders can demonstrate the outstanding performance.
3. Related Issues
3.1 Innovation drivers
Google’s operations are influenced by various innovation drivers. For instance, consumers’ needs are dynamic — they keep changing with technological changes. Consequently, Google has been seeking to make innovations that meet current consumers’ requirements. Provision of services and products that match the current needs of consumers is Google’s key innovation driver. Also, the business environment has been changing due to stiff competition and constant advancements in technology. Therefore, Google is obliged to embrace continuous innovations. An ideal example is the self-driven car which was designed to reduce traffic deaths caused by human error and to help physically challenged people, like the blind.
3.2 Types of innovation
Google exhibits various aspects of changes and innovations management. For instance, the company has made radical and incremental innovations. Radical innovation entails the development of a new service or product (Sen & Ghandforoush, 2011). Google Maps and Google Earth, which allow users to view geographical features and directions, are radical inventions. Alternatively, Google has made incremental innovations by using the already existing technologies in order to create new approaches to usage of the existing services. For instance, the improvement of the search engine is an incremental innovation, given that the search function is, in fact, a service (Engen & Holen, 2014). Therefore, Google has been making radical innovations by developing new services, products, and incremental innovations by improving its existing services.
3.3 Dimensions of innovation
The co-founders of Google utilized their original thinking in order to solve the existing problems. The world’s information was not organized, as it was not easily and instantly accessible. Therefore, the normative creativity resulted in the creation of Google. The company has also been engaging in exploratory creativity, which is defined as the identification of new opportunities. It is apparent that employees and research teams of Google have been utilizing their exploratory creativity while looking for the new ways of improving the search engine, products, and services through innovations.
Zalan (2016d) indicates that strategic leverage, probability of commercial success, business strategy fit, probability of technical success, and project profitability are correlated with success or failure. However, Google has only prioritized business strategy fit and probability of technical success in its strategic innovation processes. The company chooses to focus on the profitability and commercial success later, because users are prioritized over commercial gains. Google’s approach coincides with the assertion made by Zalan (2016e) that it is important for the company to integrate clients’ needs into products offering and features. Google seeks to meet or exceed the users’ needs by incorporating their preferences into the development and design of its products and services. Clients’ needs satisfaction, provision of information, involvement and consultation of key stakeholders are all embedded in Google’s motto.
3.4 Management of knowledge
Experimentation is crucial for identifying the acceptability and applicability of a new innovation, as it considers relevant issues. It determines whether the market will accept the proposed service, products, or technology (Zalan, 2016f). Therefore, the responses from the market enable an organization to invest in the proposed technology or to abandon it. In the case of Google, the company has carried out tests on self-driven cars to establish their usability before launching them. Management can measure the customers’ satisfaction levels, as they provide a chance to show people’s attitude to the new products or services (Zalan, 2016f). Google has determined how the introduction of self-driven cars can help various people, especially the blind.
Google offers various products and services that guarantee convenience and efficiency. The company serves a variety of people, fulfilling different needs. For instance, researchers, organizational managers, scholars, manufacturers, and various businesses use Google’s products and services. The company has utilized the technological advancements in order to develop innovations that match people’s current lifestyles. Google Wallet is an ideal example of a product that has been developed in order to respond to the current needs of consumers to transfer and receive funds instantly. Google Docs and Google Drive also represent the company’s response to the increasing need for data creation and storage.
3.6 Individual versus team creativity
Google embraces both individual and team creativity. Individuals are allowed to bring their passions and interests to the company as they contribute to the innovations. Additionally, Google employees can work in project teams to develop innovative products and services. Google gives individuals and teams time to innovate at their own pace, and both individual and team creativities are rewarded by the company. It should be noted that Google has a 20% time policy that allows engineers to spend a day pursuing their projects, which are outside their official area of responsibility at Google (Savoia & Copeland, 2011).
Google should cooperate with its existing customers by abiding the ethical standards. Therefore, the company should ensure that the users’ moral and ethical concerns and dilemmas regarding pricing and communication are respected at all times. It is imperative to institute a human rights approach in addressing the ethical issues — thus customers’ issues will be addressed comprehensively. The company should also ensure that its services, such as Gmail, Google Maps, and Street View, do not invade the users’ privacy. The company should uphold itself to honesty in its dealings, especially when setting prices with advertisers. There should be no hidden information about what the company earns from the adverts. In addition, Google should continue innovating in order to invent more services and products that correspond to the current clients’ needs. The existing products and services should also be improved. The company’s innovative strategies should be maintained and improved where possible in order to enhance convenience and efficiency. Finally, Google’s payment technology should be upgraded to allow users to utilize current devices, such as wearables.
Google was created on the foundation of the spirit of continuous innovations. Currently, Google is the biggest company in the world, offering a broad product and service portfolio. It is also the world’s most famous company. Google’s search engine is the most reliable one, exhibiting the highest level of innovation. Google products and services are globally accepted because of their innovative nature, and although Google seeks to earn revenue from its services and products, it does not prioritize money over its users. Google’s motto is to avoid being evil and focus on the users first. The company lets other issues related to revenue be sorted later. Therefore, the company’s main objective is to satisfy the consumers’ needs first. Continuous innovations have contributed to the company’s success. Google embraces radical and incremental innovation, which has led to the development of modern technology services and products. Innovation drivers have pushed Google to invent a self-driven car and other high-tech services and products. Google’s innovations have integrated all the Pentathlon Framework elements — the company ensures that its innovation strategy prioritizes users. It is recommended that Google appropriately manage changes and innovations in order to improve the existing products and services. For instance, Google Wallet should be upgraded so that users could utilize current devices, such as wearables. Continuous innovations and introduction of new products and services have led to the creation of innovative strategies, aimed to enhance superior performance.