Monday, March 21, 2005

Scoble misses the point

Scoble "bashed" Tony Chang for his post on Google's 20% time policy (not that I think Tony is right either). Scoble seems to have changed his tune a bit when prompted by Aaron Hockley in his comments. Robert goes on to admit that "Lots of people also get stuck in ruts and don't know how to get out. This might be a good method for getting out and finding something new to work on."

It is very hard to have a revolutionary or even evolutionary idea when you are in the trenches day in and day out. You need time to step back reflect and assess where things are up to and then go forward. A policy like 20% time helps in this area.

Now back to Tony, he suggests that only companies with "lots of data" could make the process work. I think he is missing the point that 20% time is not about leveraging what others in the organisation are doing it is about coming up with something completely new. For this you don't need lots of data, what you need is a management practice that supports your efforts. When the idea does not work out, you are not looked at at a failure or if you never come up with anything from your 20% time.

The point is that an organisation needs to provide a supportive environment for employees to experiment, learn, develop and invent. At Google this process if 20% time, at Microsoft :-
"One is to just do it and say heck with the consequences. One way is to submit a
Thinkweek paper. One way is to join someone who is already doing what you want
to do. One way is to email one of the mailing lists that is pretty close to what
you want to do. One way is to just email Bill Gates and tell him your idea."

Other organisations have other processes the fact is each organisation needs a process that works for their culture.

I have moved from this site to my new home which can be found a

posted by mspecht @ 3/21/2005 08:44:00 am   |