Paradoxical Thinking of Google Abstract Paradoxical thinking is looking at a problem from opposite perspectives. We live in a complex world which is full of paradoxes. Paradoxical thinking has contributed to many companies success. It is important for us to know about paradoxical thinking. This article analyzed that how Google applies paradoxical thinking in their interface, products and ’20 percent program’. Then the article indicated that the key to learn paradoxical thinking is open in mind. Paradoxical Thinking Introduction Before we get started, we need to know what is paradoxical thinking.
A paradox is a group of statements that are contradictory. And paradoxical thinking is looking at a problem or a situation from different or even opposite perspectives, and finding the same thing which is deep down in two opposite perspectives. (Westenholz, 1993) For example, in the 1830’s, Faraday had observed that a current of electricity passing through a wire could cause the magnetized needle, which was located close to the wire, to move in a rotational direction. This was the basis of his electric motor. But he didn’t stop with this.
He twist his mind and found that moving magnets can cause electricity to flow. This is one of the most brilliant application of paradoxical thinking. Paradoxical thinking has helped plenty of companies to be successful. The following research on Google is trying to find out how they practice paradoxical thinking. Research on Google Company History Google Inc. is an American corporation which provides internet-related products and services. It has the dominant position in this field. Google Inc. was founded in 1998 and set up the workspace in a garage.
At the end of 1998, Google was recognized as the search engine of choice by “PC Magazine”. In 1999, Google received 25 million dollars investment and started its rapid growth. In 2000, Google started to release multiple language versions of Google. com and became the world’s largest search engine by acquiring the first billion-URL index. (Schonfeld, 2008)Google’s initial public offering of 19,605,052 shares stock took place on Wall Street on August 18, 2004. Opening price: $ 85 per share. And the price is around $700 per share. Recently, Google. om is listed as the internet’s first most visited website, and numerous international Google sites are in the top hundred, as well as several other Google-owned sites such as YouTube and Blogger. (“Our History in Depth” . Google Inc, 2012) Interface At the end of 20th century, countless search engines were published. What makes Google. com outstanding? I think the interface is a very important factor. As we can see in the pictures, many search engines, such as HotBot, Excite, DogPile, used very complex and colorful homepage in order to attract visitors and indicate their websites’ powerful functions.
While Google. com used a very simple homepage. It only got a logo, a textbox and two buttons on the website. At first, the complex homepages maybe more attractive because of their colors and structures. But visitors more concern about the result pages than the search engine page. Then the convenient Google. com became popular. This is a good example of paradoxical thinking. Complexity cannot always be good. Simplicity can be a better choice. Besides the simple homepage, the “Google doodles” is also a determine difference. The doodles are not just comics, they also include mini games and short animations.
Visitors will have fun and learn some knowledge through these doodles. The doodles are great mixed with Google’s logo. It will connect visitors good feelings with Google. com and make them more willing to re-visit it again. Sometimes people come back not because the functions, but for the little funny tricks. (Gube, 2009) Products and Services Google provide a variety of services for people and businesses, not just search for the word you typed. The CEO, Larry Page, described the “perfect search engine” is something that “understands exactly what you mean and gives you back exactly what you want. This means making search smarter and faster. You can save time when searching information and have more time on the stuff you are good at. Advertising covers more than 90% of Google’s revenue. Google has implemented various innovations in this market. Traditional way of advertising is that showing a product or a service and then trying to raise your interests about it or persuading you to pay it. While Google uses a different way. It takes full advantage of its search engine. The ads show up in the result you found and are related to what you are looking at. Helft, 2009) Ads are presented to you, according your interests. Only a few sentences can be more effectively than traditional ads. And people are more willing to see the ads that are related to what they are looking at. Google search is Google’s core product. Now it is far more than a web search engine. You can get access to all the Google’s products and services through it. Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. They want to build a worldwide information centre. For example, the Google map.
You can see almost everywhere all over the world. And you can get various information, such as traffic information, geography information, even the street view. Google also developed Chrome and Android to make it simpler and faster for people to do what they want to online. All the Google products and services are trying to make the complex web and information simpler and easier to access or use. 20 percent time Theories of workplace control don’t talk much about freedom. The workplace is often understood as a totalizing environment, saturated with obvious and subtle forms of coercion.
It is kind of like a prison camp. While, companies like Google have created environment that resembles a playground more than a prison camp. They use a innovative time off program called “20 percent time”. This program allows the staff devote 20% of the working time to independent projects of their own choosing. (Walker, 2011) Although, not all the independent projects can be applied, Google have got many innovative products, such as Gmail, Chrome, Google Earth and so on. This program is contra to the theories of workplace control, but it keeps Google’s creativity.
Culture Google is known for having an informal corporate culture. Unlike other big company, Google has a casual culture. Google has some philosophy like “you can be serious without a suit”, “work should be challenging and the challenge should be fun. ” (Stross, 2008)They believe that great, creative thing are more likely to happen with the right company culture. It does not just mean lava lamps and rubber balls. The culture put an emphasis on team achievements and pride in individual accomplishments has contribute to their success.
They have built wonderful offices to make employees feel comfortable and fun, and made the company attractive and creative. Learn Paradoxical Thinking Paradoxical thinking is not a talent. It is a skill that you can learn and practice. Paradoxical thinking is looking at a problem or a situation from different or even opposite perspectives. The core is “outside the box”, which means be open in the mind. We need openness, courage and curiosity to think paradoxically. Openness means that we need to pay attention on our ideas that seem to be ridiculous and be open to learning new subjects.
Be brave to try a totally different approach to what you are doing. Be curious about everything, especially that you have been ignoring for granted. Always ask yourself “Can I change this into the exact opposite? ” Being a paradox thinker need to be skeptical. The more skeptical you are the better a paradox thinker you will be. Do not take for granted what others accept as a routine (K. R. Ravi). The eight skills related to intelligence are memory, logic, judgment, perception, intuition, reason, imagination and paradoxical thinking.
Paradoxical thinking is often regarded as the least used of these skills. This is because that companies that survive hold rational views. While paradoxical thinking involves the ability to reverse, manipulate, combine, synthesize opposites (K. R. Ravi). It is hard to accept paradox for people that cannot live with two seemingly contradictory forces at the same time. Summary We live in a complex world which is full of paradox. It is very important for us to learn paradoxical thinking. (T. Belasen) By thinking paradoxically, we can find new opportunities, improve our performance.
For management and leadership, paradoxical thinking means try opposite ways, and find the expectation in these ways. For example, the Greyhound bus line have gone through a very tough time because of the Green Tortoise. The Green Tortoise line’s price is half of that of Greyhound. It is hard for Greyhound to compete with Green Tortoise on price. Instead of reducing the journey time and cost, the owner of Greyhound increased the journey time from four days to six days. This is trying a opposite way. Since he is more familiar about this place than the Green Tortoise does, he added more ‘fun’ into the six days trip.
His fun trip strategy gave him a new opportunity and changed travel into a pleasure industry. References “Our History in Depth” . Google Inc. (2012, October 21). Retrieved from http://www. google. com/about/company/history Gube, J. (2009, September 12). Popular Search Engines in the 90’s:Then and Now. Retrieved from http://sixrevisions. com/web_design/popular-search-engines-in-the-90s-then-and-now/ Helft, M. (2009, March 11). Google to Offer Ads Based on Interests. The New York Times. K. R. Ravi. (n. d. ). Paradoxical Thinking. Retrieved from http://www. krravi. com/PARADOXICALTHINKING. df Schonfeld, E. (2008, January 9). “Google Processing 20,000 Terabytes a day, and Growing”. Retrieved from TechCrunch. Stross, R. (2008). Planet Google: One Company’s Audacious Plan to Organize Everything We Know. New York: Free Press. T. Belasen, A. (n. d. ). Paradoxes and Leadership Roles. Walker, A. (2011, November). ‘Creativity loves constraints’: The paradox of Googles twenty percent time. Ephemera: Theory & Politics in Organization, pp. 369-386. Westenholz, A. (1993). Paradoxical Thinking and Change in the Frames of Reference. Organization Studies, pp. 37-58.