I'm almost done with Work Rules, which is pretty much another look into how Google works, but from an HR perspective. This is probably one of the most insightful books I've read and a Google book filled with a lot of practical tips that feel a lot more applicable than some of more vague descriptions of Google culture we get from various media features and articles of that nature.
The biggest challenge is figuring out how these pretty big initiatives might apply to a much leaner organization like ours. There's more to these solutions than just trying to push for a culture of innovation and I have my own share of trying to force cultural change without sufficient experience, foresight and resources.
In my call enter training days I tried to push for innovation in the department by proposing a 20% Time style initiative by asking them to come up with personal development projects that could help the team somehow such as innovating a new report or testing a new training methodology or something. We made it part of our weekly meetings and it didn't really get all that far since I was forcing them to come up with ideas and eventually larger work demands took up more of our time.
The way that Laszlo describes 20% time and other Google practices is fascinating and a lot more detailed. More than just describing some of their initiatives he also goes into details about the rationale behind them and the steps taken to test whether or not the initiative was truly effective.
He also readily admits that a lot of their initiatives flow easier because they are as big as they are now and he understands that not all such solutions easily scale down for smaller companies. But it seems like an interesting challenge. But this is something that needs to be open, a bit more democratic than my last attempt, and based on more data somehow.