Google has a plan to stop its top talent jumping ship

google area 21 hq
So it seems Google’s top brass has had enough of its employees walking out the door as soon as they come up with an awesome startup idea.

There’s no publicly available data on how often this actually happens, but the fact that Google now has a plan to stop them leaving suggests that holding on to talent has become a real issue for the company.

The strategy? Launch an incubator within Google so entrepreneur-minded employees can pitch their ideas directly to the company.

Area 120

Called “Area 120,” the setup will be led by long-time Google executives Don Harrison and Bradley Horowitz, The Information reported after speaking to insiders with knowledge of the matter.

The plan is to encourage Googlers with startup ideas to submit an outline of their project to Area 120. If the proposal gets the green light, the team can work on it full-time for several months to take it to the next level.

The next step will be to pitch the developed plan to Google with the aim of securing funding. Should the Web giant be suitably impressed, it’ll support the creation of a full-fledged startup and even invest in it.

The name of the initiative appears to be a nod to the company’s long-running “20 percent time” scheme that lets employees spend 20 percent of their working hours tinkering with personal projects.

Google believes the scheme empowers its workers “to be more creative and innovative,” and claims it’s led the company to many “significant advances” over the years.

Now it just wants to make sure that when great ideas pop into the minds of its talented team, they don’t make a beeline for the exit to either launch their plan independently or take it to a competing firm.

Google hasn’t confirmed the existence of Area 120, but the idea makes sense on several levels. Besides keeping talent inside the company, it’d also prevent a competitor getting its hands on a promising – or later, successful – startup. As for Googlers looking to take a proposal for a spin, Area 120 sounds like it’ll provide not only the financial support and working hours for the plan’s development, but also the job security as they work to see if their ambitious plan really has legs.


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