Last week when I toured Google’s corporate headquarters, the “Googleplex,” I was shown a monitor that had an image of the planet earth with multicolored beams of light shooting up from the various contintents. The beams represented Google searches that were presently being conducted from those locations. (For example, when I searched on Google this morning for an article on “augmented intelligence,” it would have appeared on Google’s global search monitor as a beam of light shooting up from Greenwich, Connecticut where I live.)
What stood out to me when I observed Google’s global search monitor was that locations such as North America, East Asia and Western Europe were aflame with Google beams of search activity whereas some regions like Africa and much of South America were largely dark.
If Google searches can be thought of as a proxy for curiosity and learning, then locations (nations and organizations) that are aflame with search activity are preferable to locations that are dark. Google beams might also reflect a nation or organization’s prospects for innovation because curiosity and learning typically precede innovation. (This article on augmented intelligence and Google that appeared in The Atlantic provides some basis for my assertion.)
This raises some important questions for leaders of organizations. How would your organization look versus your competitors on Google’s search monitor? Is it aflame with Google beams that are augmenting the intelligence of your people to learn, grow and innovate or is it largely dark?
Connection and employee engagement are critical to curiosity, learning and innovation. People care about improving the organization when they feel connected to it. They also contribute more to and receive more from the marketplace of ideas and innovative undertakings when they feel connected to their group. This was one of the issues I addressed in my presentation at Google on The Force of Connection that you can download here.