Why the LinkedIncubator is Genius

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Did you know before reading this headline that LinkedIn has launched its own incubator? Dubbed the InCubator (get it?) “engineers can get 30 to 90 days away from their regular work to develop ideas of their own into products,” according to the Wired.com piece on the newly launched endeavor from the social networking site.

These aren’t new. Google famously started this sort of buzz with its “take 20 percent of your time to do whatever” program, and Apple reportedly has a similar program called Blue Sky.

Once is a fluke. Twice is a coincidence. Three is a legit trend, and it might be something you’ll want to deploy at your company, if it’s at all possible. From Wired.com’s piece: 

If LinkedIn can extract profitable, high-impact products from InCubator, it could become a model for other companies trying to foster employee experimentation with their own versions of 20 percent time... LinkedIn seems to be trying to find a middle way by making medium-sized investments in the most promising hacks.

Much has been written about the virtues of not goofing off but taking real breaks from your work during the day. Momentary ones. Not to check Twitter or Facebook, but to process what you’re doing and wipe the mental slate clean. It invigorates the soul and rejuvenates our mind’s capacity for creative thought — stuff we usually forget about when we’re going about our day-to-day and decimating our to-do lists. To have that time be rewarded by the company to be pursued further and to potentially subsequently benefit the company and its customers? As the headline says, it’s genius.

Read more about the program over at LinkedIn.

David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.

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