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Gmail: From a spark that lead to a billion-dollar product
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Agile, Intrapreneur, Resource Management, Intrapreneurial Management


The heart of Google's business is innovation. Their renowned 20 percent time policy, which permits employees to devote roughly one day each week on initiatives outside of their areas of responsibility, is a significant feature of Google's creative workplace environment. By doing this, Google inspires its staff to act as intrapreneurs and think creatively. The majority of the time, Google employees who work on 20% of the projects team up with others to launch an internal start-up.

Gmail is one of the most well-known and effective examples of this strategy. Paul Buchheit, a Google employee, had the initial idea to broaden the company's offerings by creating a web-based email that could double as a search engine.

Even though, the majority of employees in the organization believed that from a strategic and product standpoint, this was a horrible idea. But when Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin made the decision to sponsor Paul's initiative, all concerns were put to rest.

Due to this, Google's Gmail was introduced in 2004 and quickly became the company's first iconic offering since the launch of its search engine service in 1998. More than 1.5 billion consumers are currently using Gmail on a daily basis. From a small internal experiment, it has grown into one of the core services of Google's product line.

This is a great example to show that keeping an open-mind and supporting innovators with management support can achieve marvelous results.