Built for Innovation: How Google’s Office of the CTO is Redefining Collaboration


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The biggest innovations don’t always occur where you expect. Canon and Nikon didn’t invent the go-everywhere camera known as GoPro. It was a surfer who wanted to film his friends. Automakers didn’t believe styling could attract buyers to Electric Vehicles until Tesla defined the industry. The reality is that insights can occur anywhere, and come from anyone, and Will Grannis, Managing Director of Google’s CTO Office, knows that.

“The more ambitious [the problem], the more ambiguous, the more complex, the better. In my experience, if you're going to try to transform an industry, it's hard. And it takes a long time and a lot of new technology. It takes years of discovery of trying things, of finding what works and amplifying that and this whole consideration of people, process and technology. And so in the CTO office, one of our goals is to work on the most ambitious projects that our customers have.”

Find the most ambitious projects with an eye toward redefining an industry, that’s the mission of Google’s Office of the CTO and it’s one that Will takes seriously. On this episode of IT Visionaries, Will describes how his office works with some of the most prominent companies to help build better customer experiences. He also discusses how holistic team building can be a recipe for innovation and why disruption across industries can happen anywhere. Enjoy.

Main Takeaways

  • Transaction, Approved: It’s important for businesses to provide collaborative teams to big clients to solve business problems free of charge. When clients feel as if they have a support group to lean on, not only are you providing a valuable customer experience, but you can also potentially solve problems for other clients that might be experiencing the same challenges.
  • Are you Actually Listening to Me?: It sounds simple, but when you’re approaching any relationship with a client, the number one thing consultancy teams need to do is listen to the issues at hand. This includes talking to multiple stakeholders within the business and not just the leadership group within the department you are solving for.
  • All in This Together: Your teams should never have a niche focus, but instead focus your team building on having a wide breadth of knowledge with varying degrees of experience across multiple backgrounds. When you build holistic teams, you have a better chance of being able to provide insights to multiple clients across multiple industries.

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