Sunday, November 06, 2005
What is ambidexterity in common parlance?
Ambidexterity is the ability of being equally adept with each hand (or, to a limited degree, feet). The word "ambidextrous" is derived from the Latin roots ambi, meaning "both," and dext, meaning "right." Thus, "ambidextrous" is literally "right on both sides".
In business jargon, ambidexterity represents "the ability to do two seemingly opposing things equally well." In simple terms, a firm is good at today's operations and is poised to do well in the future as well.
Professor Mike Tushman of Harvard Business School looks at ambidexterity as being simultaneously good at exploitation and exploration.
I find Google is a contemporary example of ambidexterity as it explores new avenues--look at Google Labs (http://www.labs.google.com/) while exploiting its superior functionality through adwords http://https://adwords.google.com/select/ and adsense http://https://www.google.com/adsense/
Looking through the lens of Google's 70-20-10 (the way Google employees allocate their scarce resources, time), 70% of Google's efforts are directed at exploitation of their current offerings while 30% are spent on exploring new avenues or vistas (no pun intended!).
I also find that Google is exploring and exploiting its innovations both inside the firm as well as through a set of network partners. Based on recent data from Google, we know that adwords and adsense contribute roughly equal to Google's topline.
We may indeed be seeing ambidexterity as a business concept at two dimensions: the traditional axis of exploration-exploitation extended to a new axis of internal-external. This 4-dimensional grid may define the trajectory and scope of Google's business. The services and tools are not exhaustive but illustrative.
Comments, links, suggestions and blog links welcome.
I ran acrossed your blog and Google's Ambidexterity caught my eye. I thought I would stop and take a look.
writing adwords help