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If It's Not Fun, It's Not Work! Panasonic's "10 Percent Time"

Nov 12, 2015

The first step to realizing a superior idea is finding others who will work hard to help you. Unique ideas, formulated on frontlines investing time in unstructured exploration, are creating the seeds for businesses that will drive the future.

10 Percent Time: Invest up to 10% of time on the job to formulate and polish imaginative ideas and bring them to reality. R&D NiceTry!, inaugurated in June 2013 at the R&D Division, is a scheme to drive innovation.

NiceTry! is designed to encourage individual exploration. Signoff from your boss is not required and independent effort is the basic principle. Originators have six months to incubate their ideas, from finding collaborators to carrying out external research and creating a test sample. The critical point is that each originator gains hands-on experience in progressing his or her project independently and without special support, gaining a sense of deep satisfaction and fulfillment as well as the experience of bearing primary responsibility for execution. One of the goals of NiceTry! is to foster an open culture that encourages innovation.

NiceTry! is idea- and action-driven. How the idea would translate to a real business model is something you can consider along the way. This raises the potential for disruptive innovation that is not just an extension of existing concepts--another major goal of the initiative.

In 2015, the NiceTry! Initiative reached a major turning point. At the R&D Division, the name was changed to the Advanced Research Division ZERO to ONE Initiative to strengthen Cross-Value synergy, with a focus on the creation and unearthing of ideas which would otherwise have trouble getting off the ground under our current organizational system. The AVC Networks Company NiceTry! Initiative, which stresses support for creation of new business themes, also kicked off in June. NiceTry! is a system for independent idea development, including direct presentation of ideas to the head of the division. Now the initiative is moving from the "Nice Try!" to the "Nice Goal!" phase, in which division-wide activities become company-wide collaborations. Passion and solid commitment to achieving results are critical.

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Tabletop concepts are welcome too. Gather collaborators by presenting your idea with impact.

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    Reach across boundaries to others in the Group. Brainstorm ideas with collaborators in a free-thinking team atmosphere.

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    Gather collective wisdom from far and wide. You'll get tips on how to avoid dead-ends and new approaches to pursue.

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    After six months of idea development, put it out there for wider promotion.

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    Ideas are narrowed down and selected by an open vote and adjudication by experts. Your next goal: Full realization and commercialization.

Your time is yours to use. Your idea is yours to pursue.
Ushio Sangawa (Advanced Research Division)

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Everyone, I am sure, has worthwhile ideas of their own. My own idea is one I'd been incubating since 2010. The NiceTry! Initiative provides support from the Company so that it's possible to pursue your idea and it doesn't remain just a pipe dream. It encourages personal growth and raises motivation, thus vitalizing the company. Through cross-boundary contact with other Group members, my perspective was widened and my assertiveness and confidence were strengthened. The NiceTry! Initiative furthermore enabled me to become a founding member of a consortium. While chasing after one's own interests is a source of joy and fulfillment, it also comes with the responsibility of producing results, so those who do so are tackling their work with the most serious of attitudes. This is the true practice of "employee as entrepreneur" and my desire to commercialize the idea is only getting stronger and stronger.

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