LinkedIn Launches An Incubator To Turn Employees Into Entrepreneurs

Any employee with an idea can get up to three months to develop their own project, so long as it's good for LinkedIn.

LinkedIn has launched [in]cubator, a program that allows any company employee with an idea to organize a team and pitch their project to executive staff once a quarter. Those whose ideas are greenlit by cofounder Reid Hoffman and CEO Jeff Weiner, among others, then get up to three months to spend developing that project.

[in]cubator is a more evolved version of the company's "hackdays," in which employees work on various creative projects one Friday a month. So far, LinkedIn says it's approved five [in]cubator projects, including a tool called go/book, a meeting booking system the company is currently using internally.

Our only question: How did they not name this thing the LinkedIncubator?

[Image: Flickr user Matthew Knott]

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14 Comments

  • SAS

    Great idea... can any employee of any company of the world can participate? I have already started working on an idea and gathering team members. I belong to Pakistan.

  • John Eaton

    Three things come to mind: Does that mean dozens of employees will all go out and grab "voice of the customer" stuff and develop potentially competing designs? How does LinkedIn vet these ideas and push them forward? Where are similar stories of companies that make actual (physical) stuff encouraging their employees to take time "away" to design, mock-up and validate product ideas?

  • Tom

    Great idea;the capitalistic system needs more people and entities to fund creative and possibly highly productive projects.

  • Trendstop Team

    Wow this is such a great idea! There isn't enough opportunities or time for employees to make the most of their creativity in the workplace, so allocating a set amount of time for them to work on projects and then pitch the ideas to their managers and CEO's is the perfect way to showcase new ideas and talent! Going into the workplace from University (where you can literally work on projects 24/7 if you want) often stunts evolving creativity. When you are suddenly given restrictions, company standards and guidelines, there is no room to expand ideas and often employees are not given a chance to pitch ideas. It is also a great way of promoting morale in the workplace and giving employees the chance to showcase themselves, exposing them to more senior members of staff they may be overlooked by normally. 

  • Sharon Hill

    Nothing really new here. Scripps has been doing this with its employees for several years, and out of it came a number of excellent online platforms and projects. But yes, it's great that LinkedIn is doing this. 

  • Mrrao46

    Good move and ideas by LinkedIn . Shows how " hackdays " put into good use. Giving staff an opportunity to participate is great. Thanks

  • Anna Domingo

    Congratulations on this initiative which is indeed already creative. I am sure that plenty of projects will be a inspiration for future endeavors. I think groups should be mixed and open to external resources , consumers or consultants to even add more value.

  • Amber King

    This is a great way to discover the skills and talent of their employees. I love how LinkedIn is trying to improve their site and service.

  • Lauren Welles

    LinkedIn's Incubator will only result in win-win situations for the company. Empowering employees to develop and pitch new ideas will make them feel empowered and result in increased loyalty to the company. When good ideas surface, LinkedIn will benefit directly by implementing the promising projects, as well as indirectly by identifying the employees who could possibly be tapped again in future when innovative thinking is needed.

  • George Naing Rand

    Innovation from employees? Innovations from competitors? Innovatiopns from outside developers? All these are good.

    But innovations from customers are ven better. Will LinkedIn listen to me, as one of their site's users? I don't think so.

  • Successful Workplace

    This is fantastic as a ground-breaking idea. Employees are the best-known aspect of an organization and generally the most predictable. We know what our people have done and have a good idea what they're capable of, meaning the investment has less risk than going outside. Smart. 

  • RogP

    I think that this is a fantastic idea, being that way too many bosses and companies do not like the entrepreneur for that boss just doesn't want to be outshined.  If enough of these entreprenuers that are fired from their employment, these bosses just might have to realize that their not the only ones with ideas and just maybe that person that they cain't stand is the one who will launch their company into the stratisphere.

  • Jxh7221

    I agree, I love the idea of allowing individuals that are hard at work during the week a break to get a start on a possible ingenious idea with others to collaborate and allow entrepreneurs to flourish within the working place. I don't think anyone else is doing this, but it would be interesting to see if and how people participate and/or how people react to it. I don't think that this would harm others unless it takes focus away from their primary job. It will be interesting to see if this becomes a trend at all within companies themselves or if it will disappear in a short span of time. 

  • Jan Roessner

    I really like the idea of encouraging your employees to work creatively and for their own project at least once a month. I strongly believe that the [in]cubator project will increas productivity even more.