There’s a lot of research demonstrating that when companies help people develop new ideas by creating the space and time to clarify their thinking, innovation flourishes. 4 Throughout Silicon Valley, different companies have experimented with different ways to give people that kind of freedom. Google famously has 20-percent time, where anybody can theoretically work on any idea they want to with 20 percent of their regular full-time hours. Not too many take 20-percent time, so this policy belongs more to the fantasy Google than the real Google. But fantasy informs reality—and it’s also true that a number of important products, including Gmail, did start as 20-percent-time projects. Scott Forstall, who built the iOS team at Apple, experimented with a different approach, called Blue Sky. People came up with a project they wanted to work on and could apply to Blue Sky. If approved, they got two weeks off from their day job to further develop the idea. Similarly, Twitter, Dropbox, and many start-ups have regular Hack Weeks throughout the year during which people can spend time pursuing new ideas.
Link · 1800