Sunday, February 14, 2010


I have been quite fascinated with the concept of the 80/20 policy in google, about how employees get to spend 20% of their time doing something innovative and creative which exists outside their portfolio. It is also quite amazing to note how 50% of Google's products actually come from this ITO (innovative time off).

The 80/20 time has proven effective, with applications such as gmail, Adsense and google news coming from it. But there are still some dissidents to this idea. Bob Cringely believes that such an idea is fatally flawed and that "over time, there would be former Google employees with time, money and experience pursuing ideas rejected by the former company"

This guy is so certain Google will fail. But I believe results speak for themselves, and I feel in this world right now, more companies and societies need to be willing to take the ITO approach, and really allow active participation from all their employees in pursuing innovative ideas.

I now challenge myself with this question, how can I introduce the policy of ITO in CNYSC and Project Ahead? After all, we don't work 5 days a week, so we need to have a more systematic way of implementing ITO.

Perhaps I can be more autocratic and suggest ITO as an assignment, thus encouraging my members to come up with stuff outside their portfolio. I think with the starting of the CNYSC blog, this would be great.

Anyway, I'm a huge fan of Google and I really admire the amount of innovation and creativity that transpires from there. I can see how they became the wealthiest internet company in the world. I have actually switched my default browser to Google chrome, more for its simple and elegant design. I wonder whether Chrome was a result of 80/20 as well.

So I'd like to hear a little from you guys as well, what is your opinion on ITO?

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