Were you to enter Google’s Googleplex you would come face to kneecap with Stan. Stan is the nickname given to the bronze replica of a skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex that guards the entrance to this impressive place of work. A dinosaur located at such a hi-tech place would seem strange at best until you understand the purpose behind Stan’s presence: Stan not so much ‘guards’ the entrance but rather stands as a symbol, as a reminder to those entering that evolving, adapting and change are all essential for survival. It is a great reminder to have as one enters a place of work!

Google’s head of product management, Jonathan Rosenberg was quoted in a recent Economist as saying, “You only win if you innovate faster than the players in the rest of the system”. With such an attitude it is hardly surprising that Google is renowned for it’s innovative ability, something they have embedded into the very DNA of the company. Innovation is a word much bandied about these days, it has become a popular term and one that enjoys a great deal of airtime but I suspect very little playtime. The fact is most organizations recognize the need to be innovative, they might even want to be innovative, but they simply have too much by way of history, best practice mindsets, rules, regulations, procedures and policies all of which stand as a barriers which resolutely resist the tide of real innovation.

Innovation requires a curiosity; an ability to ask questions; a willingness to learn; to be wrong; to make mistakes and risk failure. It is often messy, unpredictable, surprising and disruptive. It cannot always be measured, managed or controlled. It is sometimes more childlike than adultlike…why even writing the word ‘adultlike’ is immediately underscored by angry red as the onboard dictionary throws up it hands in dismay at an unrecognizable word!

Yet, if we are to succeed in a world of exponential change we need to ensure we embrace innovation at both a personal and corporate level. It needs to start at the top – with leaders willing to embrace the new, the uncertain and who are not afraid to challenge the conventional wisdom that got us here – the status quo. As you do so you will give permission to others to follow your example and then watch what happens as it all catches on and things begin to evolve, change and adapt.

Of course as they do so, Stan might even permit himself a rye smile and wonder “if only” to himself – wondering what it would be like to be real rather than a skeleton, a testimony to a bygone era, one in which he ruled the world.

Be sure that you don’t become tomorrow’s Stan!

TomorrowToday Global