I was talking to a friend this weekend and he mentioned something cool I didn't know about Google. Apparently they have a program called Innovative Time Off or 20 Percent Time, which means that employees are encouraged to spent twenty percent of their work time (or one day a week) on projects that interest them personally. Apparently Gmail and Google News are both products Innovative Time Off. Seems to me like a great way to motivate creativity in your employees. If only I could have spent the equivalent of a course in my undergrad writing about whatever interested me!
I thought this fit in with our discussions about open sources, the new Internet community, and the need for changes at Universities. I believe that employers giving their employees an opportunity for independence, creativity and pride in their work leads to better productivity. So people are happier with their jobs and work harder. Everybody wins.