Benjamin Franklin once said, “Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What’s a sundial in the shade?” Apple seems to have realized the importance of nourishing the talents of its employees. In a move to keep the sundial out of the shade, Apple has reportedly launched a program called “Blue Sky” which allows its employees to spend a few weeks on pet projects. The idea is somewhat similar to Google’s “20% time,” a philosophy it introduced many years ago that allows engineers to spend one day a week working on projects that aren’t on their job descriptions.
Albeit Apple’s “Blue Sky” initiative is more focused on picking up specific people to spend weeks on other engineering projects, this is still very interesting considering that, as noted by the Wall Street Journal, Apple once cursed the idea. The publication adds that Apple, now under the leadership of Tim Cook, is becoming more and more “employee-friendly.”
The CEO reportedly approved small corporate benefits including new employee discounts on Apple products and a charitable matching program – benefits that were once an anathema for Steve Jobs. Apple has not confirmed the report, and the status of the “Blue Sky” program remains to be seen. Pixar is also one of those companies admired by many for putting a strong emphasis on cultivating the talents of its employees. Ironically, Steve Jobs was the one who helped Pixar reach its iconic status.