Google's Genius Productivity Hack Will Change How You Innovate

At Google X, the company's "moonshot factory," the mantra is "#MonkeyFirst." The idea is that if you want to get a monkey to recite Shakespeare on a pedestal, you start by training the monkey, not building the pedestal, because training the monkey is the hard part. Anyone can build a pedestal.

The problem is that most people start with the pedestal, because it's what they know and by building it, they can show early progress against a timeline. Unfortunately, building a pedestal gets you nowhere. Unless you can actually train the monkey, working on the pedestal is wasted effort.

The truth is that most enterprises are designed to produce pedestals and not to train monkeys. They work within existing frameworks and hone operations to improve performance against established metrics. That works great as long as people want pedestals, but unless you learn how to do something fundamentally new, you're bound to be disrupted eventually.