Google's 20% time became famous for the wild innovation it bred when the search engine was in its infancy. The idea was that talented people should be given one day a week to use company resources for something creative. Soon, Google released gmail, Google Maps, and had moved into nearly every niche on the web. Since then, tech companies have either dismissed 20% time's role in Google's success or tried desperately to emulate that type of innovation.
LinkedIn has decided to do the latter. Today, Senior Vice President of Engineering at LinkedIn Kevin Scott took to the LinkedIn blog to describe a new program called LinkedIn [in]cubator. Through the program any LinkedIn employee can pitch a project to executives. If approved, the employee and their team get up to 3 months to dedicate their time and energy to realizing their vision. Though not every project will be green-lit, for at least some LinkedIn workers this will be be the equivalent of 25% time.
Scott stated that [in]cubator was inspired by LinkedIn's hackdays - a day each month where employees are encouraged to work on whatever they want. The program was thought up by employees who had won several hackdays and has been running for "several" months.
Scott is one of four judges on a panel that approves or denies projects along with LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, and LinkedIn Senior Vice President of Products and User Experience Deep Nishar. Scott stated that product pitches so far have come from nearly every department in the company and include ideas for internal tools, new products, new business lines, infrastructure improvements, and human resource programs.
Five projects have already been approved, including an internal tool that Scott says has changed how meetings are booked at LinkedIn."
(Image courtesy LinkedIn)