How to deliver innovation overnight
One of the ideas in Drive that has spread the fastest and the widest is the FedEx Day. Invented by the folks at the Australian software company Atlassian, these one-day bursts of autonomy allow people to work on anything they want (as long as it’s not part of their regular job) — provided they show what they’ve created to their colleagues 24 hours later. Atlassian dubbed these innovation jamborees FedEx Days because participants have to deliver something overnight.
One of the most recent adopters of this technique is the Dutch company, PAT Learning Solutions, which held a FedExDay last month. To get a sense of how it worked, check out this 4-minute video by Rini van Solingen, the first 3:30 minutes of which are pretty good.
- Almost all developers participated.
- Participants were completely self-organizing. No interventions from management.
- A lot of developers were working late for their project. Three of them even spent the night in their sleeping bag at our company (!).
- Feedback from non-IT colleagues was very positive. I am sure we will have another FedEx day in a few months, possibly with more non-IT colleagues joining.
- One of the projects, a traffic light information radiator for our build server is up and running!
Regular readers know that I’m convinced that “noncommissioned” work such as FedEx Days will soon become commonplace. So maybe it’s time to ask yourself not, “Should I try something like this?” — but “Why am I not doing this already?”