Sergio Gonzales has an awesome job: he is the one making sure that Ebay keeps innovating despite the fact that it doesn’t have the agility of a small start up. He is currently managing the different innovation programs at Ebay, keeping the ecosystem right for innovation.

Sergio has been working on Ebay for 12 years and did many, many roles in the company, so if there’s someone who really knows ebay – he is the one. He is also a cofounder in 2 nonprofit startups focused on education and social value. He believes that the way to cope with the highs and lows of entrepreneurship is to have a deep connection to the thing you’re working on.

So how do you create the right culture for innovation?

Well, the short version is:

1. Building a culture of permission: making employees feel like they can constantly challenge the system and the way things are done in the company. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to change things all the time accordingly, but employees must feel they can make suggestions and that their ideas are heard.

2. Building an environment which is tolerant of mistakes: as every entrepreneur knows, it’s all about making as many mistakes as possible, for the lowest cost. So it’s important to let employees experiment and make mistakes, but on the other hand, it’s also important to make sure they are not making big mistakes which will make it harder to try again (because of the damage they caused the company).

The long version of this along with many other insights from Sergio, in this episode of Startup Camel.


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