You have an awesome business idea, but no time for creating a startup? Working on a new product that would conquer the market, but you can’t find the time and money needed to bring your idea to life? Your coworkers are not skilled enough to help and your boss doesn’t want to invest in your idea? Well, future Bill Gates, you came to the right place. codecentric is there to help their employees to drive their ideas to the next level.
Building a culture of innovation, where everyone’s ideas are heard and appreciated, brought us many amazing projects. To name a few – Instana, startup that raised $6 million of investments in less than two years, was born in the 20% time. Also, Workflow Essentials for JIRA, plugin that is rated 4 out of 4 at the Atlassian marketplace. It started as a 20% time project and now we have employees working full time on that.
We also took 30% of our net income per year and dedicated it to the innovation budget.
20 percent time and innovation budget at codecentric
At codecentric, we understand that technologies are ever changing and the pace of change is getting faster every year, which is why we will continue to invest in knowledge leadership and innovation. Driving new ideas and being creative is a core element of our company. As many of you know, we implemented the Google’s famous 20 percent time policy where every employee is encouraged to take one day a week to educate themself, go to a conference or a workshop, share new ideas with colleagues and create demo versions of personal projects. We also took 30% of our net income per year and dedicated it to the innovation budget.
You have a good idea, now what?
Let’s say you came up with a great idea – it could be about brand new disruptive business model, but it could also be some kind of innovation in our core business or an open source component. The idea gets bigger and better, you gathered a team of 2 – 3 people and you feel it is not possible to drive the idea to the next step with your 20% time. In that moment, the innovation budget comes into play, because budget not only means money but also time on a project.
Couple of years ago, you would have to pitch to the management team. At the moment, there is no process, forget about the pitch and the management “How do I utilize the innovation budget?” It’s all about the idea – if we love it, you will get anything you need in order to bring your idea to life – time, money, gadgets, marketing consulting.
Two things you can all do – you may drive your own ideas in your 20% time, or you may help your colleagues to drive their ideas with your expertise or business network.
The importance of innovation
In today’s fast changing business world, where businesses thrive and collapse quicker than ever, the only thing that is constant is change. In order to survive, a business has to tap the power of innovation. As Peter Drucker, the father of business consulting and the founder of modern management, once said “Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two – and only two – basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs.” He also predicted many of the major advancements of the late 20th and early 21st century, including rise of the information society with its prerequisite of lifelong learning. He suggested that the most valuable resource of 21st century business, will be its knowledge workers and their ability to solve non-routine problems.
To conclude, we firmly believe that having strict policies and processes is not the best thing to have when it comes to innovation. Take our advice, make room for new, fresh ideas and then add guidelines to accomplish the most you can with it.