Google – Master of the Universe, er, Innovation?

Written by on November 20, 2015 in Opinion with 0 Comments

Masters of the Universe cartoon for Google GlassIt seems Google Glass is back, but not as we knew it. The first version was always going to be a little experimental, but Google probably didn’t realise that publications (like DisruptiveViews) and those testing the product would behave like Glassholes.

What Google has done is re-invent Glass as an enterprise model. And you can see the benefits in healthcare, without having to blink. Being able to access medical records and databases while examining a patient and wondering what to prescribe is compelling. As is having access to a consultant, again during the examination. Other, similar, applications are not hard to envisage. On-site training is one. Monitoring a range of sports activities is another. This just may be the beginning of the second wave of wearables.

What is as impressive as the fact that Google has persevered with Glass is the way it has done it. And it should be a lesson in innovation for operators, well, any established player in an industry that is being disrupted.

What Google did:

Google had an idea. They funded it. They tested it. People laughed. Publications like us poked fun at it. Google pulled it. We thought that was that. They went back to the drawing board. They brainstormed. They redesigned it. Thought through a better target audience. They re-launched it, specifically targeting verticals such as healthcare, where being able to access critical information is something that even we cannot laugh at.

What an operator would do:

Have an idea. Network it. Get some support. Work on a business case. Get the business case rejected. Get more support. Refine the business case. Finally get approval. Talk to IT. Get acknowledgement from IT that it might fit into the roadmap sometime in the next decade. Get more support, including the CEO. Push it to the top of IT’s agenda. Build it, or buy it in after RFI and RFP processes carried out. Get delayed by Procurement. Test it. Test it. Test it. Soft launch it. Refine it. And only when it is perfect, launch it.

Meanwhile, of course, the world has moved on, driven by Google (and others).

As Martin Taylor of Metaswitch says, the trouble is that “telcos are going about software the same way they always have. Instead of being iterative, launch something, then improve, they want it to be perfect from launch.”

‘What would Google do?’

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About the Author

About the Author: Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher of DisruptiveViews and previously BillingViews. .

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