Google’s innovation style

Kevin Wen points to a recent interview with Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt talking about innovation strategy inside Google.

“We prefer them to run rampant,” said Schmidt. “The most clever ideas don’t come from the leaders, but rather from the leaders listening and encouraging and kind of creating a discussion,” he said. “Wander around … and try to find the new ideas.”

Google encourages its engineers to spend 20 percent of their time on “something of the engineer’s own choosing,” with the idea that focusing resources on activities that are not directly related to the company’s core business will ultimately lead to new discoveries

The open source community has been particularly adept at attracting some of the “best and brightest of new talent,” in part because it is an international phenomenon, Schmidt said. “I know this is a shock, but not all the best programmers are sitting here in California,” he said.