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12/14/2005
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Google Exec Urges Companies: Open Up

Google's enterprise general manager, a keynote speaker at this week's Interop show, says a new model of product management has arrived and companies need to change their practices accordingly.

Even in the face of increasing regulations, companies need to consider opening their flow of information, said Google Enterprise General Manager Dave Girouard.

Girouard, a keynote speaker at Interop in New York City, said a new model of product management has arrived and companies need to change their practices accordingly. At a gathering that focused a lot on security, he said exclusive focus on security can ensure failure.

Product management has evolved from being formulaic, linear, scheduled and predictable, to being unpredictable, cyclical and revolutionary. That means companies need to rely on self-directed innovators and move forward quickly, often with little planning, he said.

"You can't schedule innovation," Girouard said.

Companies need to attract, guide and retain self-directed innovators in order to succeed in the next 10 to 20 years. Self-directed innovators -- who don't necessarily hold high-ranking positions but have wide influence within a company and can make things happen -- will define the winners in the next two decades, he said.

"They're the brightest of the bright," Girouard said. "They write a lot. They read a lot, and they talk to people a lot."

Those employees can't always recall details of all of the information they have come across so they need a photographic memory, collective wisdom and the world's information, he said. The way to deal with that, according to Girouard, is to allow information to flow more freely and quickly than it has in the past, he said.

"They're like the crazy professor: not able to remember it all," he said.

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