7. Google’s 20 Percent Projects give Googlers a chance to innovate in areas of interest as they have spare time.

Another example of Google’s inclusiveness and innovation is its 70/20/10 idea. 70 percent of the capital is funneled into Google’s core and demonstrably successfully endeavors. 20 percent is devoted to projects that have shown promise and merit further development. The remaining 10 percent is designated for the go-big-or-go-home projects. They’re untested, and most of them will fail, but it will mean huge return on investment for Google if even a few succeed. The more daring experiments never receive more than 10 percent, in part because it would not be sound to dole out too much, but also because it forces engineers to be creative with more limited capital. This is where innovation thrives.

The 20 Percent Project is a long-standing tradition at Google that applies not just to the company-wide structure, but individual engineers as well. It has allowed Google engineers to work on projects on the side that they’d like to pursue. The majority of time is spent on completing the objectives designated, but if there are projects or modifications that Googlers think would add value to the company, they are welcome to go for it as they have time.

Google’s Open Gallery, for example, was the result of one of Jonathan Rosenberg’s 20 Percent Projects. Through a conversation with a museum curator in Jerusalem about the Holocaust, Rosenberg recognized that the remaining survivors are nearing the ends of their lives, and that it would be tragic to lose their firsthand accounts. Rosenberg brought the idea to Israel’s Google squad, which began to devote 20 percent of their time to establishing a relationship with the Museum of Martyrs and developed the website’s online presence. There are almost 150,000 images from the museum now online. This has led to survivors from around the world filling in some of the gaps with their experiences related to the documents and photos in the online archive. This became the first of museums around the world that have posted their collections of artifacts online. It all began with an employee pursuing an area of personal interest that Google’s 20 percent principle allowed for.

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