One of the endless debates in R&D is the question: Can innovation be a repeatable, systematic process? Google Chairman Eric Schmidt answers a resounding “Yes!” in a recent Tech blog entry by Forbes’ Quentin Hardy, “Google’s Innovation – And Everyone’s?”
Not a lot of new aha’s in there, but one of the interesting points made in this piece is that a low defect culture can make you less innovative and that too much six sigma focus can stifle creativity. They don’t say these things are damaging, they do have tremendous value, but what matters is the environment in which they reside and how it affects overall corporate culture. Basically, the risk averse nature of “quality” can blind you to game changing new approaches and ideas. Makes sense.
However, I must say a math error in this article soured me a little, in the following excerpt, it appears the author is claiming that there are over 300,000 individuals in one Chinese city assembling iPods:
On the other hand, Google is a ludicrously small employer – with 30,000 workers, about as many toil at one Boeing factory in Everett, Wash. Foxconn has more than 10 times that many people assembling iPods just in Longhua, China.
A quick check to the Foxconn website revealed they have 200,000 employees worldwide. Oops.