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Creativity Google-Style

Google has a lot of things going for it, as we all know. But one thing I think they really got right was that they allow their employees one day a week - that's 20% of their time - the luxury of working on new, innovative projects for the company. This could be anything their hearts desire, no matter how wacky or overly ambitious. They then have the option to post and test out some those crazy ideas on Google Labs.

And the results are pretty telling. Without this 20% ideas policy we wouldn't have applications like Google Books, Google Scholar, Google Earth, Gmail... the list goes on.
As a story researcher, I am lucky enough to spend lots of time being creative and coming up with ideas for stories. Of course it would always be great to have more time, but everyday more immediate tasks often keep me too busy - like working on a show that needs to go on the air right away.

But on the rare occasions I have to really think about the embryo of an idea and see what could come of it... I can't tell you how satisfying that is. These are often pretty hair-brained ideas that may not go anywhere, but just being able to think about such things seems to enhance and foster my creativity.

So wouldn't it be great if everyone who worked at a company that valued creativity could have some time to just think? Of course it also helps to a have a forum and place to test out these ideas, such as Google Labs. But even if those ideas go no further than the water cooler, think about how great it is to get those creative juices flowing - regardless of where it leads.
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