Two weeks ago, Google[x] was profiled in Fast Company. It was notable not because of how fascinating a read it made, but because it was the first such profile the notoriously secretive Google[x] has ever allowed of itself. Google[x], of course, is the ultra-secretive lab at Google dedicated to creating “moonshots.” To date, it’s been responsible for giving the world Google Glass and Project Loon; other rumored projects still in works include incredible inventions like a ladder to the moon and connecting every appliance (and non-appliance) in your house to the internet, i.e., advancing the “internet of things.”
The [x] in its name initially represented a stand-in until people could figure out what to call the division; it now represents Google[x]’s desire to have 10x the impact of traditional product improvements. They’re looking for impacting billions, ideally, though a few hundred million is acceptable. Everything about Google[x] is remarkable. It’s a skunkworks group, with a level of corporate support that every scientist would kill for. Its ambitions are so great as to trivialize the “skunkworks” label for every other such division out there. And it’s peopled by exaggerated versions of the smartest, most ADD kids you knew in school. All of which combine to give it such a collegial mindset, you can’t help but wonder how to apply it to schools.