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Google Atmosphere 2014

I've just got back from Google's atmosphere 2014 event in London.

I do love visiting the Google's offices - mainly because there's always an excess of alcoholic beverages and unhealthy snacks... and today was not a let down!

I suppose I should briefly mention what the event was all about!

Monday was either 'The cloud' or Mapping... I have bit of an interest in mapping and have had great results implementing Google mapping into a client's product... aiding understanding of KPI's, modelling data and looking rather lovely when we tender for work (allowing our product to be that all important differentiator) ... as well as giving potential customers the reassurance that our supply chain is well managed and we can measure our and present our KPI's

Yes... I know all of that is a little vague... and with good reason to be honest! but Construction news did do a rather lovely write up all about it! Click here!

A lot of it was talk about about internal mapping (mapping the inside of buildings like railway stations, airport terminals etc) - And the 'Internet of Things' which I've already blogged about after Google acquired Nest.

Don't worry.. just a posing shot...
 I didn't drink any! 
There was a very interesting albeit brief video about a really interesting new platform from Google called Tango https://www.google.com/atap/projecttango/ I can see lots of practical uses for this technology in construction  both in snagging and of cause that other overused buzz word at the moment in the construction industry.... BIM (Building information modelling) not to mention the outside world!

I must admit overall I was a little disappointed in the day - there were two case studies one from Transport for London.. which unfortunately didn't really inspire or add to the sum of my knowledge! the second from Vodafone which was unfortunately cancelled - however we were treated to a rather last minute presentation from a real life Googler! all about his own personal background,  a bit about Google Glass and inspirational management - and the importance of embracing failure in order to succeed!

Now, not many companies have the deep pockets that Google has to embrace experimental thinking - However the retraining of people's phyche to view failure as a positive and something to embrace is interesting! Yes Google send their staff on courses to encourage them to view failure as positive... or at least not to be scared off.

We're taught from school that failure is a bad thing! we become risk adverse and afraid to embrace new ideas... because what if we fail!!!  nobody wants to be a failure! Google claims that perhaps only 1 in a 100 projects go anywhere (I have no idea how close to reality that stat is) but they are not afraid to fail and let people try new ideas... BUT! what they also do is fail quickly! there happy to embrace ideas that might fail... but they know when to stop a project/idea before it gets too far! they actually have a team to go around and  'Fail' projects early.

That's perhaps one of the big things I'll take away from Atmosphere 2014 and something that us developers and managers and strategists can learn from... Developers are not good at failing! we're problem solving people... we have minds that can solve problems.... any problem! every-time we hit a hurdle we find a way to solve it and plough on! perhaps sometimes we need to stand back and call a line of development a failure! and try something new, even if we have to stand-up and say -  'I failed, because of this...... lets try something new'

Written by Christian Miles


You can discover more about the event at: http://www.googleatmosphere.com/london

Christian Miles