Apple takes a cue from Google's 20% time
Many companies are starting to realize these days that if you have talented people in your company, it's probably a good idea to give them a bit of freedom to follow their passions a bit. Google has been the most famous example with its "20% time" and now Apple is joining in the fun. The idea is that aside from working on company mandated projects, employees are given paid time and access to company resources to work on anything they choose. Google has been the most famous of this because Gmail, Google News, Orkut, and AdSense all began as 20% time projects by Google employees.
Apparently, Apple actually began the project earlier in the year. It is called "Blue Sky", and it allows employees to take two weeks to work on projects outside their normal responsibilities. Of course, Tim Cook doesn't want to completely change the culture of Apple just yet, and wants employees focused on Apple projects, so Blue Sky is only available to a select number of employees.
No word on which employees are given the new freedom, or if there are any new products that began life as a Blue Sky idea. Still, it should help to generate more innovation in Apple, and even better, it should keep employees in-house who would otherwise leave to work on these outside projects.