What if you could work on anything you wanted?
Redgate is doing an experiment of sorts this week. Called Down Tools Week. The idea is that they stopped working on their regular projects for a week and strike out on something that catches their attention and drives their passion.
Evidently in many cases, these projects have turned out to be new features in their existing products that individual were interested in, some were internal iniatives and some where evidently off the wall new ideas. Today is show and tell where they will share with each other what they have been working on.
There may well be some interesting announcements coming out of this. The prospects are exciting.
I understand that Google does something similar allowing their employees a specified amount of time to work on projects of their own choosing. This has been the breeding ground for some of my favorite services.
It is a shame that more companies do not follow such practices. Now I know that most companies cannot afford to shut down everything for a week and sometimes you can't really explore an interesting idea in 8 hours a week or however much time Google allocates, but still it may be worth while.
What would happen if your company gave you as an individual 1 week each quarter to work on a project of your own design and see what happens? I would be happen if you still had to get approval for before your week long adventure.
Personally, I think that this could be a very effective use of training budgets. Give me a week to research something on my own and you would be amazed at what I can find out. Maybe this should be the prerequisite before starting a new project. Stagger the team onboarding but have everyone spend a week long sabbatical studying BizTalk before starting a project that will hinge on BizTalk.
The show and tell afterwards is a great way to keep everyone honest or at least reassure management that everyone is honest. If your goal was to spend a week researching and exploring a new technology and you had to do a show and tell afterwards to show off what you had learned, then everyone can learn a bit of what you just learned. Sounds like a promising win win for me.
Maybe it is a pipe dream, but what if ....
What would you work on if given the opportunity to work on anything you wanted?