Funny – whenever I hear people talking about Google's 20 percent time policy the focus is always on the time (it is after all, 20% of someone's time – one day a week to work on whatever company-related project they like – imagine that). But important though the time element is, this probably misses the point entirely. Innovation thrives in cultures which allow it to thrive. Innovation happens when managers get out of the way, listen a bit harder to their people, accept that the really great idea will probably come from somewhere you least expected. Somewhat of a theme in this interview with Eric Schmidt:
"The story of innovation has not changed. It has always been a small team of people who have a new idea, typically not understood by people around them and their executives."
It's something we intuitively know but which few companies actually live by. Somebody said to me today that we are moving from a business culture based on "time is money" to one where "knowledge is money". I think she was right. And if knowledge is the raw material, then this gem from Stan (originally via), which he rightly says applies to all forms of creativity, is what it's all about. Because in some way, everything really is interesting.