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Google: New-Product Innovation Essay

1. The new product development process at Google is free flowing, fast-tracked, and without boundaries. Google encourages their employees to “think outside the box” and come up with new ideas, no matter how crazy they may seem. Once an idea is proposed, they sent it to testing right away. They try to put a product into use no more than 6 months after development has started; they are not into having 2-year production and design plans. Google also gives their employees one workday a week (20-percent time rule) to work on whatever is going on in their heads. This encourages employees to be innovative and gives them the time and resources to do so.

Twitter is similar to Google in that Twitter has something called “Hack Week” where people get into different teams and use their creativity. They can come up with new ideas or products and some of them may be put to market. LEGO is different, however, in that they go to their customers a lot to see what they want. They let them do things such as vote for new product ideas online and then review the ideas that get 10,000 votes. Google and Twitter, thus far, have kept their innovations within the company. Starbucks’ innovation process can sometimes take up to 20 years to develop, as with the VIA instant coffee. They took their time developing this product and tested it over a few months before putting the product into their stores.

2. Google’s product-development process is customer centered, team based, and systematic. Ultimately, Google is trying to do what their customers want in order to make their customers’ lives easier, as with the creation of iGoogle. Google is team based in how they give their employees one full workday each week (20-percent time rule) to work on any project they want. In this time, they are free to work with whomever they chose and are free  to come up with any idea that pops into their heads. Google is also systematic in their product-development process because their supervisors encourage them to be innovative. Employees are given certain boundaries and must still report to their supervisors, but they are free, and encouraged, to come up with new ideas all of the time.

3. The challenge that Google faces in managing its product portfolio, in regards to the product life cycle, is that they need to stay current. While their innovation style is somewhat chaotic, they need to make sure that they continue to watch what their best sellers/products are and develop based on those. If their products are becoming outdated, then they need to analyze whether or not they should update their product or move to a product that better suits the needs and wants of the market. They need to watch their products go through the maturity stage as well as the evolution of technology and its uses. The most important issue is to stay current.

4. There is a limit to how big Google’s product portfolio can grow. If Google becomes too big, then they may lose sight of the little details that make their products so great. By spreading their focus amongst too many different products, they could lose the attention to detail that so many people love. I think that Google would be better off to focus on a few main products. If they put their time and energy into the things they know how to do and slowly introduce new products as old ones die out, then their product portfolio should be not too big but not too small.

5. Google can be successful in markets that they do not dominate. They just need to be innovative and attentive to what their customers want. Their Google Play can become better than iTunes since it is aimed towards all Android users. Having a system that is compatible with one’s mobile device is important. Also, Google+ is on the rise. When MySpace first came out, everyone had one. I never thought that anything could be better than that website. However, when Facebook came out, I did not want to switch. After I did, I found out how much more I liked it. As time passes on, certain companies fail to innovate and keep current. Here is where I think that Google is a step ahead. As long as they keep their process of innovation and continue to put products through to testing so quickly, they should be able to dominate in those markets in no time.

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