No matter what you may think of Google, you must admit they are doing many things right. One such thing is management endorsed R&D by employees. I happen to come across a job description from Google with the following:
Our engineers can use 20 percent of their time to pursue personal projects they’re passionate about. This freedom to innovate has created Google News, Google Suggest, AdSense for Content, and Orkut — products that might otherwise have taken entire startups to launch.
How many companies do you know of that actively promote R&D amongst its employees and actually include it as a portion of time within their job description? Not many, and that is probably one of the secrets behind Google’s business success.