How Innovation Days spark creativity in the TYPO3 team
Last month, we hosted our first Innovation Day. Seeing how successful it was in sparking creativity and ideas in our employees, we decided to do it all over again this month. In our previous post, we’ve talked about what Innovation Day is, so this time we’re discussing the reasons why we’re doing it and how it’s been beneficial to our company.
Everyday, new codes, apps and programs are being released on the web. We realised early on that our employees had many ideas of how to use these new technologies but due to the backlog of projects and their accompanying deadlines, they remained on their “if only I had time” wish list.
At Web Essentials, we decided that in order for us to be on the forefront of innovation, we needed to allow our staff the opportunity to play with new ideas. Michael Poh from Hongkiat poses an important question for companies seeking to be innovative - ‘ without a conducive environment for creativity to be expressed, how can we expect to see ideas arising from creative employees?’
Leading innovative companies like Google, Apple and 3M are able to be revolutionary because they allow their employees to experiment and explore. Google has a 20 percent program where developers get to spend 20 percent of their working day to spend on side projects. This has paid off for company with their top products emerging from the program, such as Google News.
Rachel Emma Silverman writes on the Wall Street Journal that ‘there’s something to be said for “work-work balance,” juggling your main work duties with more experimental side projects. Having work-work balance helps keep employees engaged and can also spur innovation firm-wide. At Web Essentials, we’re finding the work-work balance and harvesting creativity through our Innovation Days.
And how has it benefited our company? First and foremost, the atmosphere during the 24 hour time span had an air of excitement and anticipation. People were coding, implementing and designing with an edge of competitiveness and eagerness. As a result, new programs, systems, processes and technologies were presented, opening the minds of others of what could be. By the end of Innovation Day #2, we had refined our Continuous Integration process, developed a new project set-up system and saw how parallax scrolling could be used in our website templates. Those are just a few of the 14 projects undertook.
While most companies may find our approach or Google’s 20 percent program too costly, we’re confident that the investment is worth it - for the longevity of the company through innovation and for the joy our employees experience when work becomes play.
What about you? What does your company do to encourage innovation?