20% time

Autonomy of staff to work on projects


Since 2004, Google has tapped autonomy as a driver with their “20 Percent Time,” wherein Google engineers get to spend 20 per cent of their time pursuing projects of their own creation.

If your 20 per cent idea is a new product, it’s usually pretty easy to just find a few like-minded people and start coding away. But when the thing you really want to work on is to make a broad change across the whole organization, you need something new — you need a “grouplet.”

These grouplets have practically no budget, and they have no decision-making authority. What they have is a bunch of people who are committed to an idea and willing to work to convince the rest of the company to adopt it.

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