Google and Innocent UK Creative Practices and Implemented Innovations
It is impossible to imagine the modern world without creativity and implemented innovations. Most scientists agree that innovations have become the main driving force of economic and social development. In fact, innovative activities lead the humanity to a new higher stage of development. The concept of innovation is used almost universally. It is the topic of conversation of common people in the everyday life as well as of officials and international organizations on a professional level. In fact, innovations can be embodied in the form of new or improved products introduced on the market, or in the form of a new or improved technological process used in practice, or a new approach to social problems, etc.
Innovation implies the process of converting knowledge and ideas into value demanded by consumers. The consumer may be both external and internal. Innovation can be implemented in both goods and services on demand of external customers, or it can be implemented in technology, business models, strategies, organizational structures, and processes that provide the internal innovative development of the business itself. Innovations lead to the creation of customer value and improvement of productivity, with a consequent business development. Without innovations and creativity, new products, new services, and new business models would never have appeared, and companies would continue making the old things in the old ways.
In a world of rapidly changing technologies, markets and consumer preferences innovations are important for all companies regardless of their size, location, and industry. The companies that cannot change their proposal or improve their performance in response to changes in the market conditions usually remain on the sidelines, as they are overtaken by savvier competitors. Creation of internal culture based on creativity and innovation aimed to develop all levels of an organization should be among the main strategic priorities of every company.
The following paper is aimed to explore the creative environments and practices of Google and Innocent UK, providing a compare and contrast analysis of innovative and creative approaches used in the two organizations, including their histories, products, and services.
Google creation history is a story about two young graduates of Stanford University who revolutionized the life of the modern generation. Since the company’s establishment, the world has been living in an era of technological revolution. The invention of Google technology can be compared to the invention of a wheel. Today, it is unclear how it was possible to search the Web until the appearance Google. However, like all brilliant ideas, the Google search engine is a very simple invention.
The Google search engine was created as an educational project of Stanford University students Larry Page and Sergey Brin. In 1996, they were working on the search engine BackRub. In 1998, based on the abovementioned device, they created a new search engine – Google. From the very first year of its existence, Google began to apply the OKR method of transparent management, which defined the company’s approach to planning, corporate governance, and development. The Corporation itself was founded on September 2, 1998, and Google.com domain was registered on September 15, 1997 (Mediratta, 2007).
Nowadays, Google has ceased to be a part of exclusively US life and culture. 67% of Internet users live outside the United States, while 77% of the Internet audience does not use English as their native language. However, all of them use Google search. That is the reason why Google offers a set of languages to be chosen from when using the search engine. There are more than a hundred living as well as the dead (Latin), artificial (Esperanto), and fictional languages (the language of the race from the planet Clinton from the series «Startrek») in its arsenal. Google allows users to find information in any language. The company has reached an incredible level of development from scratch, without putting a penny in advertising of any kind, i.e. TV, radio, magazines, billboards, etc., relying only on viral marketing and word of mouth. In addition, Google’s main page is considered to be the most visited page on the Internet, and the company’s logo is one of the most recognizable and expensive.
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Innocent UK is a company specializing in healthy products including fruit juices, smoothies, and veg pots and has approximately 250 employees. The company was founded in 1999 by three college friends, Richard Reed, Adam Balon, and Jon Wright. After college, they worked together in the field of advertising. They decided to establish the company of their dream and conducted an experiment. They bought fruits for £ 500, manufactured the drinks and sold them at a music festival in London, hanging a sign on their kiosk asking if they should leave or continue doing this business. They put two buckets with ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ words (Innocent Drinks, 2015). Thus, they asked customers to vote by throwing an empty bottle into the appropriate bin. By the end of the weekend, the ‘Yes’ bucket was filled in and Innocent UK was established. Later, they were fortunate to meet with Maurice Pinto, a US businessman, who eventually invested £ 250,000 into their company’s development (Innocent Drinks, 2015a).
The drinks sold by Innocent UK are made from 100% natural products. In fact, all the ingredients are purchased only from the farmers who adhere to the environmental safe standards and working conditions. The product packaging also complies with the environmental regulations. At all the stages of the beverages’ production, the company strictly monitors carbon dioxide emissions. What is more, each 10% of the company’s profit is used for charitable purposes (Innocent Drinks, 2015c).
Compare and Contrast Analysis
Nine Basic Principles of Google Innovation
Let us have a look at nine basic principles of Google innovation formulated by Gopi Kallayil, Google’s Chief Evangelist for Brand Marketing:
- Innovations come from everywhere. It means that inspiration can come from below, above, or from anywhere else, even from somewhere you just do not expect. For example, one of the Google’s doctors insisted that, in case the query of ‘suicide’ is typed, the search should show the number of the US National Suicide Prevention Hotline. After the introduction of the abovementioned function, a number of calls increased by 9%; and the similar measures were introduced in other countries.
- Focus on the Consumer. Google has introduced a predictive search, i.e. the hints for the user’s search query on the fly, which saves a few seconds. The Sales Department was concerned about the users’ reaction as well as decrease in the amount of ads seen by the users. Nevertheless, the company provided the options and took the risk. As a result, the improved Google search saved humanity in general about five thousand years and also attracted even more people who were interested in the service.
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- The main goal is to get ten times better results. It means that if you take up a job with an idea that something will improve by 10%, you will receive incremental changes. If you want to change everything dramatically and make a revolution, think about improving tenfold. This will help you speed up the process and stop thinking standard. For example, in 2004, Google launched its Books project and set a goal to gather all the information through the digitization of all printed books in the history. Now the company has scanned 30 million books and dozens of libraries throughout the United States are in turn to give their books to Google (Mediratta, 2007).
- Bet on internal developments. It means that each organization has its own work, on which it should be focused to achieve a significant progress. For example, Google Engineers, who are not specialists in the automotive industry, created a car without a driver after noticing that millions of deaths in road accidents are caused by human errors. For this invention, the company has already had Google Maps, Google Earth, and Street View. Armed with the internal developments and operating time, Google engineers have created a prototype of a car that moves without a driver.
- Permanent modification of the products. It means the necessity of a regular update of products without waiting for the last moment. When Google launched Chrome in 2008, the browser was being updated and improved every six weeks as the maximum. Now it is a top browser in many countries. This proves that if a service is imperfect initially, its users will appreciate the desire to improve.
- Give employees 20% of the working time. This is Google’s famous rule about 20% of the working time that employees can spend on their own projects, even if they are involved in the development of a key product. While planning a vacation to Spain, one of Google employees was very disappointed by the fact that the maps could not shoot panoramas close to the hotel because the passage was too narrow to fit a car. The employee spent his spare time to adapt the camera using a special tricycle so that he could get into the places prohibited for the movement of vehicles.
- The working process should be open. It means that everyone should have an ability to innovate and give birth to great ideas. For example, working on the Android platform, Google did not hire the world’s best designers; it did an open platform and allowed any programmer to create his/her own applications, which led to the creation of Android, a platform used by over a billion people all over the world.
- Everyone can make a mistake. It means that you cannot condemn someone for a failure. If you have something that does not work, it means that your try is not good enough. Typically, if any of Google services fails, it is not eliminated completely. It is usually divided into parts, the best of which are integrated into other products.
- Focus on the things that matter. This is the most important principle. Each and every Google employee has a sense of shared purpose and mission. Every employee realizes that he/she works to improve the lives of millions of people.
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The abovementioned nine principles are true for each industry. However, the formulation of the principles can differ.
Innovation and Creativity Principles of Innocent UK
Thus, innovation and creativity principles of Innocent UK are different from Google’s approach and reflect the core values of the company, providing an understanding of its main policy (Innocent Drinks, 2007).
They are as follow:
- Be natural. This applies not only to products of Innocent UK but also to its employees themselves. It means showing respect for each other as well as having an open dialogue with the most important people, i.e. the consumers (Deal & Kennedy, 1999).
- Be adventurous. Innocent UK began with a small group of entrepreneurs, and, by and large, nothing has changed. The company is not afraid to be flexible so as not to miss out a good opportunity (Innocent Drinks, 2015b).
- Be responsible. The company strives to deliver on its promises as well as does not forget about the impact it has on people and environment. Innocent UK tries to make the world a little better place than it was before they came (Cohen, 2011).
- Remember the commercial success. It means that we would not have even heard of Innocent UK, if they had not paid attention to profit. As any company, they focus on income and gains, but not only on the company’s gains but also on the gains of their customers.
- Be noble. It means being honest with each other, assisting those who need it more, and being grateful (Barron, 2009).
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Similarly to Google, the key to innovation and success of Innocent UK is its personnel. The company heavily invests in its staff. Each employee receives a small stake to be personally interested in the prosperity of Innocent Drinks (Gubbay, 2011). In addition, the company pays its employees for a variety of training courses and programs and even helps them to realize their long-standing dream. For example, with the help of Innocent Drinks Company, one employee was able to record a music album, and the other one was paid for a trip to Costa Rica. To relieve stress, all employees receive monthly massages, and once a year, the whole team is sent to Switzerland to ski at the expense of the company (Innocent Drinks, 2015d).
Contrary to Google, a significant contribution to the success of Innocent UK was made by the appropriate marketing and packaging. Pearlfisher designers gave a bright personality to the Innocent brand. In fact, Innocent Drinks had no analogues in the UK market (Innocent Drinks, 2015f). Their method of cooking immediately attracted the attention of nutrition specialists, who noted that the company was offering not only delicious but also healthy and useful products. One bottle of Innocent Drinks contains a full daily ration of fruit. No other juice producer in the country could boast similar advantages (Briggs, 2014).
Another difference from Google is that the main channels of Innocent Drinks’ communication with its consumers are labels on bottles (Innocent Drinks, 2015e). These labels are of the same color, i.e. nothing like the bright colorful labels of other similar companies. The labels used by Innocent Drinks have no images of fruits, but only a logo and the notice ‘No sugar. No Water. No Concentrates’. A unique list of ingredients as well as humorous labels with jokes also paid consumers’ attention to the company’s products.
The labels are changed every three months so that the buyers do not have time to get bored with jokes and anecdotes. Nowadays, the company has a whole office, headed by a creative director Dan Germain, whose responsibility is the creation of new writings on the labels. At the moment, a variety of texts is quite diverse; in particular, they include an advice on the farm and even descriptions of physical exercises.
Contrary to Google’s innovative approach, a distinctive feature of Innocent Drinks is humor in everywhere and in everything (Bainbridge, 2013). The company’s branded vans were at first covered with artificial grass instead of paint, which was associated with green meadows with grazing cows. Then, they all took the form of a black and white spotted cow with horns, eyelashes, and tail (Anderson, 2012). When to press a button on the control panel of the dynamics, a loud and lingering ‘moo-oo-oo’ will be heard instead of usual gay country music or funk-rock.
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Innovations and creativity crucially influence any business development. Each company has a certain aggregate capacity, i.e. technical, scientific, or economic one However, nowadays, innovations and creativity are considered to be the most important tools used by the companies to reach success in the market. Google and Innocent UK are the perfect examples of excellent application of creative and innovative approaches, which helped the unknown companies to become the most important players in the marketplace. The abovementioned research provided an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of creative practices used in Google and Innocent UK, proving that innovations and creativity are the key elements of modern business practice.
The concept of innovation and creativity implies an expansion of the existing proposals and a brand new development of new product categories. This can be achieved by adapting of the new production processes or using of certain ready products to develop a different product that will be used in an entirely new way. Whichever of the abovementioned paths of innovation is chosen, it must be guided by strategic thinking first of all. Google and Innocent Drinks UK are perfect examples of companies having unordinary approaches to the business development. However, they use different approaches as Google offered a completely new service, while Innocent UK offered not new but innovative from the marketing point of view products.