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Learning From Google's Top-Kill of Wave

Two of my BNET colleagues, Erik Sherman and Rick Broida, have already tucked into Google for delivering another failed product, this time Google Wave. Google announced on Wednesday it is pulling the plug because "Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked."

A big bust for the Googlians?

From a commercial standpoint, sure. And it won't change some opinions that Google talks a good game about innovation but fails to deliver products to back it up.

But Google is to be applauded for its innovation management, even if the results didn't work out this time, says Harvard Business School's Karim Lakhani.

"Google should be commended for both launching and shuttering Wave as it shows that their managers both embrace creativity and innovation and are also cognizant of allowing failure and dealing with it rapidly and efficiently if the creative efforts do not bear fruit. More of us should be following in their footsteps."
Google did several things right in managing innovation, he says:
  1. Admitted failure and moved on, allowing resources to be shifted to more deserving work.
  2. It signaled to the internal organization that performance metrics are important and projects that do not meet the criteria will be terminated.
  3. By supporting the inception of such a creative project, Google will continue to attract and retain top flight talent.
Read Lakhani's post on HBR.org, Google Wave Decision Shows Strong Innovation Management.
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