“Earlier this year, Apple told some employees about a new initiative called ‘Blue Sky’ that allows a small group of staffers to spend a few weeks on a pet engineering project, according to three people told about the program,” Lessin reports. “It is a more limited version of similar initiatives for hatching new ideas that have long existed in Silicon Valley. The most well-known of those is Google’s ‘20% time,’ which allows employees to spend up to a fifth of their time on projects outside their normal responsibilities.”
Lessin reports, “The idea was previously anathema at Apple. The Cupertino, Calif., company is known for organizing teams around a few focused projects that come from the top. Employees have often griped about the lack of leeway… But under Chief Executive Tim Cook, who took over from co-founder Steve Jobs last year, Apple is becoming more employee-friendly. Mr. Cook has introduced small corporate benefits that Mr. Jobs resisted or never cared much about, such as new employee discounts on Apple products and a charitable matching program.”
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