The exciting innovation potential of Google+

Google+, the social networking tool introduced by the search engine giant one month ago, may become a valuable platform for idea development and innovation. Here's how.

Google+, the social networking tool introduced by the search engine giant one month ago, has experienced meteoric growth, with over 20 million users signed up. It’s already showing tremendous promise as a business tool, and particularly as an enabler of innovation. If you haven’t explored Google+, here’s a good primer on what it is and what its current capabilities are.

Here are some of the ways in which Google+ may enable innovation and idea development:

  • You can post the seed of an idea or a work in progress to a small, trusted “circle” of advisors for immediate feedback. They would be the only people who could see it.
  • Use Google+ as a platform for crowdsourcing, by creating a circle, posting a product development challenge within it, and inviting the public to join the circle and submit ideas.
  • Conduct small group brainstorming and collaboration sessions using “hangouts,” which enables multimedia conferencing between up to 10 people at a time.
  • The ability to follow thought leaders and read their ideas provides a rich environment for serendipity to occur.
  • Sparks is sort of like Google Alerts. You can set up keyword-based searches, and view a stream of new content that Google has found related to it. Being aware of a wealth of news, trends and developments in your field of interest may lead to new ideas for products and services, a deeper understanding of customer needs and may help you to identify potential business partners.
  • Assuming that Google will eventually launch an API (application programming interface, a set of code that will enable Google+ to exchange data with other applications), we can expect to see integrations with web-based idea management and crowdsourcing tools in the future.
  • Google offers many useful business services that are already widely used, including Docs, Calendar, Reader and Mail. Many pundits believe that Google’s ability to integrate its many services with Google+ will be its trump card, and could open up new opportunities for innovation and collaboration.

If you haven’t explored Google+, I urge you to do so. You can follow me here. If you need an invitation, I can provide you with one here.