Most of the times, creativity is associated with the arts, and mostly thought of as the expression of highly original ideas. In this case, creativity has been idealized, and every company tends to claim that they encourage creativity in their day to day operations. In business, the term creativity refers not only to an original idea, but an appropriate and applicable idea capable of influencing the way business is carried out. In his case, Page views innovation as not only developing great ideas but also finding a way of commercializing the concept and turning it into one of the next big things. Larry Page is the inventor behind the company, Google.
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According to Larry, creativity, and innovation is the process that starts with careful observation of the ongoing operations, then moving to the idea of improving the process. As such, for one to fully reach his potential in innovation and creativity, the person has to be subjected to an environment that will encourage him/her to be creative. People need to practice flexibility to develop innovative ideas, commercialize and seek for further guidance from professionally qualified persons to improve their designs.
Larry’s approach to creativity began by envisioning himself as an innovator who ranked Web pages by their inbound links. Larry had the vision of downloading the entire Web and placing the whole world’s information into one point at 22. However, he realized that creativity does not entirely involve the realization of big ideas alone. He had envisioned a future of technology that is so innovative. However, for him to implement the plan, he had decided to find a way of ensuring that the idea is commercialized. After reading the story of Nikola Tesla (the man who invented the Alternating currency but died without further accomplishments), Larry was careful to keep away from Thomas Edisons of the world, (those who would use him and his ideas for their personal gains).
One of the methods that Larry used to ensure his creativity remained relevant and applicable was the brainstorming technique, which was later referred to as the design sprint. Larry began brainstorming on how to transform his idea into reality. He answered several important business questions, designed and ran a prototype inform of his algorithm known as PageRank. He then further went ahead to power a new Web search engine known as BackRub. However, BackRub did not last long as it was later renamed into Google in 2001. In this case, Larry’s views of innovation and creativity as a process of actions and implementations rather than just mere thought has contributed significantly to his success. Five years after inventing BackRub, Google had already gained millions of users, several major investors, and over four hundred employees together with a few project managers. All this was due to his implementation approaches to creativity and invention.
The second approach that Larry applied was to hold open discussions and arguments about an idea. In this case, Larry would argue with his co-founder, Sergey, where they could call each other names concerning an idea until they reached a way to ensure that the idea becomes more realistic and with utmost benefits to the business. Larry would ask everyone how they were doing their jobs, and in most cases, challenge them on their basic assumptions concerning the reason why some aspects are done the way they are. In turn, the people at Google would rethink of different ways of doing the same job, thereby enhancing creativity and invention at Google.
Larry Page believes that Incremental gradual improvement will become “obsolete – especially in technology”. Larry sees his main effort is “to get people focused on things that are not just incremental.” By that principle, Google’s launch of the email service Gmail was a jump – “not something that would have happened naturally if we had been focusing on incremental improvements.”
In the same way, Page’s method was working on an idea immediately as McFarland (2014) discusses. In this regard, he considers that a person should be free to involve in ideas with more values. As a result, he ended up firing all project managers in 2001 when he realized that the managers were acting as roadblocks to engineers’ roles in performing some functions. In this case, Larry’s approach of minimum supervision and total freedom to incorporate creativity has enabled him to be successful over several years.
Larry believes in a few rules, which have helped him to stay innovative in his environment. First, he does not believe in bureaucracy. In this case, he believes that provided a person has an idea, there is no need of waiting for the several processes for it to be approved. Secondly, he believes in doing things himself. He does not support delegations whereby he prefers a job to be done by oneself to make it go faster. He is anti-social: “In 2008, Page told Google’s communications team that they could have a total of eight hours of his time that year. Why should he have to talk to the outside world?” In this case, he believes that he should only talk to a person when he is going to add value to the idea the person is working on. He thinks that people tend to get in the way of others especially when they oppose the plan. He only encourages people to engage him when they are adding value to his ideas, thereby shies away from publicity.
Finally, he believes that ideas are more important than the age of a person, thereby he would rather listen to a junior with innovative ideas than a senior executive who does not have any ideas that interest him. Finally, to remain creative, he believes that saying “No, period” to a person’s thoughts is the worst thing a person can do. Instead, he thinks that in every idea that he does not like, he can always find a way of getting the concept better implemented.
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