Saturday, January 09, 2010

Creativity & Ownership

It's a week until the start of my new adventure, and suddenly I'm feeling more creative than I have in many months! Perhaps it's just the impending change of scenery, but it's causing me to muse about one of the great creativity drains I found at Microsoft: the fact that they own all of your ideas.

Your employee agreement clearly states that the company owns everything you dream up on the job, but nowhere does it say that they have to do anything with it. It's like an idea black hole; you lose your ability to pursue the ideas, and in all likelihood the company won't bother. So you start to not share ideas you don't think have a good chance of making it, and eventually you stop having those ideas, until you just stop having ideas at all.

What if, instead, the company you worked for had "right of first refusal" to all of your ideas? If they utilize your idea, then it's all theirs. If they don't do anything with it within a certain time period, it's yours to pursue as you please. The company gets happier employees and the pick of the litter of a greater outpouring of ideas -- everybody wins!



completely agree
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