Real World Futures

Failure creates opportunity

Date: 01 November 2018

A SENIOR Google executive gave the Real World Futures conference a rare insight into the recipe for success recipe of the world’s largest digital business. It comes from failure.

Ms Sally-Ann Williams, the Engineering Community and Outreach Manager of Google, told the Disruptive Influences And What To Do With Them conference, her business had built a culture of celebrating failure.

The key to it was what lessons could come from some of the failures which Google showcases in regular sessions dubbed “Tales For Fail”. Staff won bonuses for revealing failures that could guide future development.

“The thing with failure is we breed it out of ourselves. We get into this syndrome where we either pass or fail. And when we pass, it’s fantastic, we celebrate. If we fail, we’re told go and try harder.

“Is there any reason anyone would take a risk if that’s the cost.”

Ms Williams has been with Google in Australia for 12 years and said her regular intentions to leave were thwarted by the company’s continuing adaptation to its customers.

She said Google operated on three principles.

The first was to focus on the user as the motivation to keep innovating.

“It’s not about saying where the revenue is coming from but building something that is going to help people and then monetising it.”

The second principle was that good ideas can come from anywhere and this required a culture of an organisation that listened to both its employees and customers.

And the third was that it was better to be fast than slow. She gave the example of Google Chrome which was updated every eight weeks after release because it was determined to be better to release it to market than wait for perfection.

Content sourced from QUT News Web Service.

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