Strategies For Innovation: American Innovation | MAKO Design + Invent

Revolutionizing Innovation in America

October 2, 2012

Google’s 20-percent-time is lauded as one of its top strategies for innovation; and the American government needs to start investing in emerging high-tech industries. These are the two main messages in a CNN interview with Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt. And despite the release of the interview last year, the information it contains has certainly not expired.

20-percent-time Policy

Aside from its then-new search technology and its advertising-based business model, Google’s success is due, in large part, to its 20-percent-time policy, which gives its engineers that amount of paid time to work on projects of their choice.

“People were encouraged to make the most outlandish ideas … and those people are now running the company,” said Schmidt.

Google recognized, early on, that happy employees meant creative thinkers, and the company designed policies aimed to foster a fleet of inspired individuals. Schmidt mentioned that a successfully innovative enterprise needs to allow its workers to be themselves, and Google’s unconventional policies paired with its office environment that offers free food and loads of activities achieves exactly that. Google News was born of this 20-percent-time principal and, as evidence of the success of this type of innovation, the platform now accounts for 30 per cent of all traffic to news sites online.

Government Investment in High-tech Industries

According to Schmidt, American has been a leader in invention and innovation; however, it has missed out on opportunities to develop some promising, cutting-edge industries. One example is solar power. This technology was invented in America, but China is currently the leading producer of solar panels due to the Chinese government’s decision to subsidize their development.

“It’s perfectly possible that these people will begin to get into spaces that American has historically dominated,” said Schmidt. He mentions the “Valley of Death”, a common industry phrase that refers to the heap of ideas that are born in America and grown by other countries with aggressive industrial plants.

He called for a marriage between the Asian model for productivity and American cultural values and democracy in order to address this issue. The latest high-tech manufacturing jobs can exist in America if the government backs certain industries and keeps manufacturing plants close to research facilities, Schmidt suggests.

Today’s inventors need to become familiar with trends in innovation. The concept is not new, but its massive consequences are in constant flux. Companies, like Google, that incorporate revolutionized innovation strategies into their business models are, in turn, revolutionizing the way we all do things.

About: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop-shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial designmechanical engineeringelectrical engineeringpatent referralprototyping, and manufacturing services. To assist our startup and inventor clients, in addition to above, we help with business strategy, product strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. Also, our founder Kevin Mako hosts The Product Startup Podcast, the industry's leading hardware podcast. Check it out for tips, interviews, and best practices for hardware startups, inventors, and product developers. Click HERE to learn more about MAKO Design + Invent!

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