Google’s “20 percent” rule, which enables employees to work on side projects for 20 percent of their workweek, may have a rival in the all-new Apple Blue Sky program. This program lets select Apple team members take a few weeks at a time to work on a passion project.
While Fast Company notes that the Blue Sky program would have been “inconceivable” when Steve Jobs held the reins at Apple, it’s still not as comprehensive as its corollary at Google. The key distinction lies in the word “select” — all Googlers get their 20 percent time, not just a chosen few.
Why do programs like Blue Sky and “20 percent” time exist? To free up brainpower for innovation. Now-famous products that came out of such programs include 3M’s Post-It Note, Gmail, Google Labs and Google Earth. “What you’re offering is essentially freedom, and that is very attractive for the right person,” said Henry Chesbrough of the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley in a 2011 interview with Fast Company.
Does your company have a variation on the 20 percent program?
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