Its rare that I will use the words “innovative” and “Microsoft” in the same sentence. But today I am breaking that habit to talk a moment about Pivot. Pivot is an innovative piece of software from Microsoft that makes it possible to visualize large sets of data in very interesting ways. Gary Flake demoed Pivot at TED back in March.
I have been playing with Pivot for about a week now, and can honestly say that its the first Microsoft product that I have been excited about in years! All I can think about is what it would be like if Microsoft combined Pivot with Bing’s search index. I mean can you imagine what that would be like? It would be the closest thing to a Google killer ever.
Unfortunately, I am afraid to to say that Pivot probably won’t progress that far. How do I know that? What’s my inside information? The cost that would be required to mashup Bing with Pivot is too large of a gamble for Microsoft.
Innovation dies when organizations are unable to fund a project to the end. Instead they get to a point where they can’t justify truly seeing it to full completion. This is a result of working within a corporate structure and culture that inhibits full innovative development.
Google on the other hand has a history of innovative culture. In Google they cultivate innovation without wasting resources. Somewhere around 50% of Google products come out of their “20% time” program. That means that Google is able to develop innovative products from start to finish without incurring added expenses.
As we build our companies it’s important that we remember that innovation is at the heart of growth on the Internet. Because of this, we need to always be mindful that oftentimes what is equally important is sustaining an innovative environment and culture throughout our companies growth.