Brett Sadler

The 70:20:10 Rule – Could This Work In #ukhousing?


Logo source: 70:20:10 Forum

You may well have heard of this rule before. It’s been made famous in recent years by a shy, retiring and little known organisation that goes by the name of ‘Google’.

I’ve heard the 70:20:10 rule banded about a lot of late and after doing some research there seems to be some confusion about what the rule means. I guess the easiest way to explain it is that it’s a rule of thumb that can be applied across lots of areas of business, in almost any form you like. It’s a bit like Pareto’s principle (e.g. 80% of complaints come from 20% of a company’s customers).

However, for the sake of this blog, I’m going to focus on two areas in particular. These are:

  • 70:20:10 model in Staff Recruitment
  • 70:20:10 model in managing and encouraging innovation

70:20:10 Model in Staff Recruitment

This model has reportedly been around since 1996. It works like this:

  • 70% of staff recruited within the immediate industry/knowledge area;
  • 20% of staff recruited within the overall industry but not the specialist knowledge area;
  • 10% of staff recruited outside of the industry.

The idea is simple. The 20% and 10% of staff help give different perspectives on the everyday issues and problems. They look at things in a different way. I really think this could work where you are looking to build a highly functioning, innovative team of staff. This could also work on a project basis, where you are pulling people from across the organisation to work on something. I’ll certainly be keeping this in mind for future projects.

70:20:10 Model in Managing and Encouraging Innovation

This model has arguably been made famous by Google, but it has been around for some time in different forms and ratios. The number of organisations embracing this rule seems to be growing by the day. The model works by staff spending:

  • 70% of their time on core business tasks;
  • 20% of their time on projects related to core business;
  • 10% of their time on projects that are unrelated to core business.

Unsurprisingly there are some stark examples of how this has benefited organisation. Google has reportedly gained products such as Google Earth from employee initiated projects unrelated to its core business. LinkedIn also developed LinkedIn Maps (which I’ve blogged about here) from a similar employee initiated project. There are lots of other examples I could have quoted.

“About 70% try to work on the core efforts of the company….about

20% goes to adjacent areas and expansion, and for the 10% anything goes.”

ImageGoogle co-founder Sergey Brin

 I wonder if any Housing organisations have adopted or would adopt the 70:20:10 rule?  Maybe we’ve even got some examples of the 70:20:10 rule working in #ukhousing?

I think it could work quite well and is certainly worth giving some thought to. On a personal note, I think I’ve been following something along the lines of the 70:20:10 rule for some years. Some of the research, blogging and work I’ve done on social media certainly hasn’t been part of my ‘core business’ role, but I’d argue that my organisation has benefited greatly from my increased knowledge.

So, does the 70/20/10 rule have a place in the world of #ukhousing and if so, how could it be used? Please leave your comments below!


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