Get The Innovation Edge – Lessons From Google’s Problem

Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO, admits in his interview with Business Week that Goggle’s obstacle in continuing to innovate is – “that we have people in multiple sites. It’s a problem that everybody faces, but we’re going to face it bad. We have, like, 50 locations.”

Why would multiple locations be a problem? It is more than time zone differences.

Schmidt explains the spirit of innovation: “The story of innovation has not changed. It has always been a small team of people who have a new idea, typically not understood by people around them and their executives.”

What is the blind spot? What is the innovation secret that is hidden in these comments?

The innovation blind spot in a connected world with virtual teams is forgetting what happens when a small group of people get together in the same space. In fact, doing just that, getting the right people together in the same room can be the innovation edge, the competitive advantage that makes the difference.

True, it is not always practical; diverse perspectives and inputs are critical and multinationals are driven to move functions to lower cost regions. Yes, we are quickly becoming a “virtual competent” specie. But there is no innovation generator like getting the right people together in one physical space where they connect and activate in each other the bio-energetic, whole-brain, whole mind synergistic cycle of innovation.

The blind spot is in dismissing the power that gets unleashed when we meet face to face. To solve critical problems and for projects where accelerated ideation and creative intensity is needed,  there is simply no better way than getting people to share face2face presence.

There is an invisible energetic side to the process of excitation where our “collective neural brainpower firing for connection” leads to breakthrough ideas and quantum leaps. Think of an electrical storm where the atmosphere is crackling with potential and lightening that can strike in any direction.  That’s what Schmidt reveals and this is the reason we are able to generate stratospheric value for clients when getting virtual teams together in the same room for intense innovation and business transformation sessions. It’s the counter-trend, the novelty, but nothing activates the innovation DNA and potential like getting the right people, at the right time, inside a shared creative space. Never forget that most big things started when a few brilliant people got together in one room.

© Aviv Shahar

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