Google is so integrated into peoples lives, the younger generation has a hard time imagining life with out the technology giant.

“What did people do before Google?” one Hastings College student asked during a lecture at Hastings College Thursday night.

Chris Russell, regional director of Data center Operations of the Midwest for Google, said at the lecture that Google’s success is due largely because of a culture of innovation at the company.

Russell’s lecture is part of the Hastings College Lecture Series.

The lecture series is put together to bring speakers from different fields and share their experiences with students and community members.

Russell presented on how Google creates a culture of innovation in the company and gave eight core examples of Google keeps innovating.

Russell of Council Bluffs, Iowa, has been working for Google for 12 years and manages a data center in Council Bluffs — one of Google’s largest data centers.

Data centers are physical locations that store data for Google. Russell gave the analogy of a filling cabinet.

There are eight other Google data centers in the United States.

The lecture had a strong focus on technology and computer science, but students from other disciplines had the chance to take away something from it.

One example of innovation Russell gave was “launch and keep on listening.”

He explained how restaurant owners would sometimes have a soft opening to get feedback before opening to the public.

“You want to test things before you let all the customers in,” he said.

For future business leaders, Russell talked about the importance of hiring the the right people — even if the process takes months.

“Hiring the wrong people is far more expensive than hiring the right people,” Russell said.

Russell also brought up the importance of collecting data, but not just from Google’s users.

Russell explained Google sends an annual survey out to its employees every year asked them questions about how Google can improve.

Russell also talked about the 70/20/10 model that Google applies when working.

He said 70% of projects should direct efforts company’s core business, 20% of projects should be projects related to the core business and 10% are unrelated to the business.

Russell said by doing this, Google keeps on track improving its projects by devoting most if their energy to the core business.

But by giving employees the chance to work on their own projects, people come up with innovative work, Russell said.

Russell gave other tips including “looking for ideas everywhere,” “share everything,” “focus on users, not competition” and thinking “what is 10 times better for you and your customers.

Russell is also a member of the Iowa Governor’s STEM advisory board, the board of directors of Pottawatomie Arts, Culture and Entertainment.

He is also on the board of Nebraska Shakespeare and is a past board member of KANEKO.

The Hastings College Lecture Series was previously call the Artist Lecture Series.


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