Google claims they spend 70% of their time on core business, 20% on related projects and 10% on unrelated projects.
Coca-Cola takes a similar approach with their content marketing 2020 strategy. They claim to spend 70% of their time on low-risk content that has been proven to work, 20% on innovative mid-risk projects, and 10% on high-risk projects.
In the case of Coca-Cola, high-risk projects often fail but when they do work they soon become a 70% bread and butter staple. It is how the business can remain innovative.
In the case of Google, this 10% is managed by the Director of Other. The role affords unlimited time and resources to explore anything under the sun so long as it plays true to Google’s mission statement, “organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”.
You can search high and low for more information on the Director of Other but eventually you come to terms with the impossibility of seeing a tree’s fruit when you are stuck inside the trunk.