Innovation Time in Corporations
- Atlassian has 24-hour innovation periods known as "FedEx Days".
- Twitter has a week-long innovation event known as "Hack Week."
- Spotify's week-long innovation event is also known as "Hack Week."
- While most companies have a 24-hour innovation period, some companies such as Twitter, Dropbox and Spotify have one-week innovation periods.
Details on how different companies allow for "innovation time" have been provided below. These companies include Atlassian, Twitter and Spotify. An overview of the time allocated for different companies has also been provided.
- Atlassian is a computer software company.
- It has an addressable opportunity of $24 billion in the software, general work management and IT service management markets.
- As of 2020, Atlassian had 4,907 employees.
- Atlassian has in place "FedEx Days", which is a scheduled day every year when employees are given the chance to "work on something they're interested, curious, or passionate about." This innovation immersion event usually starts on a Thursday afternoon and last 24 hours until Friday afternoon. During this time, a new environment that is idea-friendly is created, and day-to-day projects are suspended.
- Teams are given time to brainstorm and prototype their innovations, and, after the 24 hours elapse, they present their prototypes to their colleagues and show them in action. Prototypes are judged based on product value or usefulness for the customer, technical complexity delivered, and innovation delivered.
- The end result is that some of the prototyped ideas are released in production and generate revenue. Out of 550 projects generated during 18 Fedex Days at Atlassian, 47 of them had a significant impact on the company. These successful innovations would not have seen the light of day if employees had to stick to their normal jobs.
- Twitter is an internet company.
- In 2020, 38.2% of Twitter's tech employees, and 25.8% of its leadership employees were female. The bulk of the company's workforce was male.
- Twitter hosts "Hack Week," a week-long event during which its engineers abandon their regular duties to pursue other interesting things. Twitter's formula incorporated innovation, scale, creativity, and thoroughness. In other words, it is 51 weeks of normal work and one week of non-day-to-day work at Twitter.
- Instead of gathering various third-party developers to hack on things based on Twitter's APIs, employees at Twitter come together to see what they can come up with.
- During "Hack Week," Twitter employees work in small groups and share their projects with the company at the end of the week. After each project is completed, it is either released immediately, added to the pipeline and developed in the future, or it serves as creative inspiration.
- Spotify is a music company.
- In 2020, Spotify generated €7.8 billion in revenue and, as of the fourth quarter of 2020, they had 345 million monthly active users.
- As of 2020, Spotify had 5,584 employees.
- Annually, Spotify employees gather for "Hack Week". During this week, they are given time away from their regular work and devote their time for five days to projects that test innovative ways to make Spotify better. The hacks can be simple ideas that only need one or two-person teams, or big ideas that require a large group to work on.
- At the end of the week, employees are notified of what hacks were considered for inspiration or adoption. Projects presented during this period may serve as inspiration for bigger ideas that go into fruition, such as Spotify's popular Discover Weekly playlist.
Typical Length of Innovation Time
- While most companies have a 24-hour innovation period, Twitter, Dropbox and Spotify extended theirs to become one-week periods due to the success they experienced.
For this research on how much time corporate employers allow for "innovation time", we leveraged the most reputable sources of information that were available in the public domain, including LinkedIn, the company websites and press releases, and other miscellaneous sources such as Tech Crunch, Telegraph, Business of Apps and Idea Champions.
We used some sources that are older than 2 years because the information in them is supported by other sources that are more recent.