How would you like to have your boss tell you to take one day a week and work on any pet project of your own creation?  Google, LinkedIn, Apple, and a number of other companies have taken that approach or some variation on the theme.  Recognizing that people genuinely are their best asset, these companies have taken a very practical, effective approach to innovation enhancement.

All research and development does not have to be by corporate decree.  When individual employees are empowered to use their creativity and intellect to “go where no one has gone before,” they just might come up with something brilliant.  Obviously, striking a balance here is important.  Not every employee can go rogue.  On the other hand, when companies grant this sort of freedom and empowerment to employees, employee engagement goes up and in many cases company profitability rises with it.

As business competition for talent increases, I believe more companies will look for creative ways to tap their existing talent.  They know how costly it is to replace talent.  Most companies understand keeping their existing talent happy is a better deal in the long run.

Does every company understand this dynamic?  Obviously not.  Nevertheless, I think we are increasingly going in the right direction.

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