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‘Tight coupling’ between collaboration and innovation, says Google director

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A company’s ability to produce innovative output is closely linked to the level of collaboration among its employees, according to Thomas Davies, director of Google enterprise in Northern, Eastern & Central Europe .

Speaking at the HR Tech Europe conference in Amsterdam, Davies told delegates collaboration between the company's computer engineers is a key part of bringing innovative products to market.

“There’s a very tight coupling between a company’s ability to collaborate and the effective output of innovation,” he said.

“You can’t just have an innovation manager looking to develop the innovation vision and strategy. It has to be in the fabric of your company. And we’ve learned that the tool to do that has to be collaboration.”

He went on to explain that 20% of Google’s 25,000 engineers’ time is spent working on projects “off their own back”. They then peer-test their ideas in informal working groups.

“At Google we completely step away from sales. So our sales strategy isn’t determined by a senior president of sales, but on whether the engineers can sell the ideas to each other.”

Creating an environment that nurtures such talent is the key to enabling this type of working practice, according to Davies.

“This is about the culture of the company,” he added. “As leaders in your business I would encourage you to speak to your CEOs and say 'if you want to increase your shareholder value and have incredible employees working for you this is a very simple but effective blueprint.'”