Monday, July 21, 2014

A Cult of Failure - How Google X is Changing the World

Google X, the internet giant's top secret innovation lab to end all innovation labs, has created a culture that radically embraces failure as the secret to success.

"Failure is not precisely the goal at Google X. But in many respects it is the means. "Rapid Eval," (doing everything humanly and technologically possible to make them fall apart) is the start of the innovative process at X; it is a method that emphasizes rejecting ideas much more than affirming them. That is why it seemed to me that X--which is what those who work there usually call it--sometimes resembled a cult of failure. As Rich DeVaul, the head of Rapid Eval, says: "Why put off failing until tomorrow or next week if you can fail now?" 
Like something out of a Frank Herbert science fiction novel, the director of Google X is named Astro Teller, and his glass etched business card reads "Captain of Moonshots". As with all of Google, his leadership style is non-traditional to say the least. It is not unusual for a team meeting to concluded with the challenge of a slack line - a low tightrope - slung between trees outside the Google X offices, with Teller eventually tumbling to the ground.  He contends that brave, honest and vulnerable leadership is the key to innovative breakthrough.

When the leadership can fail in full view, "then it gives everyone permission to be more like that.” Over dinner, Teller tells me he sometimes gives a hug to people who admit mistakes or defeat in group meetings.
It seems as if Teller was inspired by the words of Feyd-Rautha, the power crazed antagonist of the sci-fi classic Dune who proposed, "Why prolong the inevitable?"

"It's way easier, and way cheaper, and way more fun to find out now that we missed than to find out years from now, with an incredible amount of additional expense and emotional investment.”
Check out the full article here. It's well worth a read.

No comments:

Post a Comment