Very Brief History of Encouraging Employee Creativity: 3M, Krishna Bharat, Paul Buchheit, Google & "More Wood Behind Arrows"

  1. 3M first came up with the idea of 15% time
  2. Google’s Krishna Bharat came up with Google News in his spare time.
  3. Paul Buchheit also came up with the initial prototype of Gmail in his spare time.
  4. Then everybody starts talking about Google’s 20% time.
  5. Then follows, Google Wave & other products & basically ends the 20% time concept.
  6. Now its all about more wood, behind fewer arrows (based on Steve Jobs’s advise?)

Moral of the Story: Having a systematic process to encourage employee creativity is very very hard. It takes a very very extra-ordinary organization to keep taking it in the chin & still backing potentially losing products….

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