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"Constantly think about how you could be doing things better."
- Elon Musk, Investor & Entrepreneur
5 min read
By Nick Bell

How to think like a Googler


Business

There’s a reason why an estimated 5.6 billion searches are made on Google each day. It is an efficient, reliable, user-friendly search engine that’s gained internet users’ respect and trust for the past twenty-two years.

But how did Google build such an excellent reputation globally?

They have a culture of constructive thinking and innovative problem-solving.

THREE PART BRAINSTORMING

At Google, problem-solving begins with brainstorming. Of course, we’ve all heard of brainstorming, and many of us have tried it. Perhaps you’ve been in a group session thinking up ideas, and only a couple people spoke, or the ideas seemed unrealistic, or they never amounted to anything.

To avoid the above-mentioned problems, Google takes a structured approach to brainstorming. They follow these three steps:

  • They consider their customers’ cultures, preferences, and opinions
  • Aim to significantly improve the status quo
  • And immediately begin creating something based on their ideas

CONSIDERING CUSTOMERS

Customers, users, and ‘audiences’ have a massive collective bank of wisdom and information. Their thoughts and opinions can act as the compass to your product designing and selling. (And you had better listen to your customers, because that’s who you’re selling to.)

Additionally, users’ opinions, experiences, income, and price sensitivity varies. Google takes time and pours resources into understanding the varying wants of its remarkably diverse body of users: male and female, young and old, wealthy, middle class, and low income, professional and recreational, American, European, African, Asian, Australian user and even some in Antarctica!

Because of this diversity of users, Google employees have to work extra hard, traveling around the world, just to meet with their users in person and hear their valuable opinions.

IMPROVE BY TEN TIMES

Google employees want to make their customers’ lives better. But they don’t just want to marginal quicken, better, or smooth over their users’ experience. Their employees aim to improve every product by ten times.

While many organizations, companies, and start-ups just look to surpass their competition, Google looks to wow their customers. Further, they are willing to put the work in.

CREATING PROTOTYPES

A great idea is pointless, unless acted upon. By the end of each brainstorming session, Google employees create a prototype for their envisioned product or system. This practice bypasses the tedious ‘but what if’ phase and kickstarts the actual inventing and building.

The beauty of prototypes is they don’t have to be perfect. They are workable. Therefore, everyone leaves the meeting with a tangible project, instead of a disorganized cluster of half-finished competing ideas.

LISTEN TO THE NUMBERS

Google’s innovation often stems from a reliable source: Data. Alongside listening to customers, Google employees highly value statistics. (Keep in mind that statistics are typically just numerical reflections of customers’ and potential users’ preferences and opinions. Data is just another very clear-cut way to understand them.)

For example, engineers at Google decided to launch their self-driving car initiative in 2016 in reaction to research and data about how human error is typically the cause of car accidents. Data can help create real-world solutions because it can signal real-world problems.

GET THE BALL ROLLING

Much like the mentality behind creating prototypes, Googlers aim to get products to market as quickly as possible. Although it may seem odd, Google does not wait until an item is pristine to ‘ship’ it. Rather, they ship it and then debug it and allow their customers to suggest changes.

This on-the-go learning keeps Googlers’ energy levels high and motivates them to respond to problems in real-time. Once again, Google’s initiative and enthusiasm minimizes the hair-splitting processes and bureaucracy that can often occur within companies as they take their products to market.

COMBAT ROBOTICISM

Perhaps you’ve heard of Google’s nap pods, snack bar, gym, casual dress code, indoor scooters, and cool environment. All of these things brighten the workplace and help create a lively and positive environment for Googlers. Something you may not know is that Google staff are allowed to pursue passion projects for 20% of their workday.

Management understands the prevalence of things like burnout, stress, lethargy, and task overload in a competitive organization. To combat these frustrating effects, they encourage their employees to spend over an hour a day being creative.

In-house research shows that Googlers’ hour of creativity does not ‘cut into’ or decrease their productivity each day, it actually sparks and ignites creativity.

HARNESS FAILURES

Failing at anything is typically frustrating, embarrassing, and discouraging. Many think that failure is a reflection of flaws, laziness, incapabilities, or research. (And sometimes those things are true.) However, Google employees are taught to analyze their failures.

When they look at what went wrong, they can learn and they can fix it. Instead of avoiding failure, they take risks. Inevitably, they sometimes fail, yet the culture sees even failures as progress. It is this mindset that has led to countless groundbreaking inventions.

FIND PURPOSE

Finally, Google employees believe that their work makes an impact. Their mission statement drives them to focus, innovate, and be bold.

Do you understand how your work betters others’ lives?

IN SUMMARY

If you’d like to increase your team’s or personal productivity, why not take a look at how Google functions?

  • Google employees use a productive three-stage brainstorming tactic to generate new idea
  • They are in touch with their customers
  • Care about their customers
  • Never leave a meeting without designing a prototype
  • They use data to guide their decisions
  • Value activity over passivity enabling them to ‘get things done’
  • However, employees don’t just grind from nine to five; Management encourages creativity, passion, and side projects
  • Employees are not gripped by fear, but understand that there is value in failure
  • Finally, Googlers know that their work is worth doing

Because of these company-wide practices and mores, Googlers are motivated and productive designers, go-getters and innovators, thinkers and doers. If you’d like to see your workplace look a little more like Google, try embodying the characteristics you see in the list above.

About the author

Nick

Co-Founder of Lisnic.com 🔥 & Founder of 12 digital agencies 🎯
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