As Larry Page begins his new job as CEO, whisperings around the Google campus indicate a significant reorganisation is on its way. In an effort to bring the company back to its nimble innovative beginnings, Page is hoping to shift the power away from managers and business-minded heads towards engineers. The news comes a mere two days after previous CEO Eric Schmidt stepped down.
AllThingsD speculates that Pages engineer-centric mindset has been a primary influence on his decision to reshuffle, with the move essentially placing him in charge as the highest-level engineer. A move away from micromanagement has been a key factor in success for the YouTube and Android divisions, which operate in an almost self-contained environment. Placing departments in positions akin to that of a smaller startup could be exactly what Google needs to encourage new ideas from individual staff members.
Google has made efforts to stimulate innovation before. "20 percent time", where an employee will spend 20 percent of their time on a project that takes their interest, was responsible for the birth of Gmail. Inspiration came from a user who was frustrated with how much time she had to spend organising emails. After an engineer heard about the complaints, he used "20 percent time" to try and come up with a solution. "If a Google user has a problem with email, well, so do we," said co-founder Sergey Brin.