In business, there are two variants of the 70-20-10 model – managing innovation and education. As a learning and development tool, it was Morgan McCall and a handful of colleagues who first introduced the 70-20-10 model. After asking 200 people in high positions within their job how they learned, the following results were seen:

  • Challenging Assignments – 70%
  • Development Relationships – 20%
  • Coursework and Training – 10%

After releasing the report, it was explained that the majority of learning came from experience,  feedback, mistakes, etc. Therefore, on-the-job experiences, problem solving, and working on tasks accounted for around 70% of learning. In terms of working with colleagues, listening to feedback, and working with both good and bad examples, this fell at 20%. Essentially, this left just 10% of learning to come from official training and courses.


Over the years, there has been some criticisms for the 70-20-10 model from academics with the main issues being a lack of empirical supporting data, who was asked in the survey, and the fact that perfect numbers have been used. With this in mind, it is important to remember that the model was never made as a prescriptive solution but rather inspiration for non-formal learning. As long as we all know that the model isn’t based on fact, we can proceed with caution.

Managing Innovation

As we said earlier, the 70-20-10 model has two main functions and the second of these is managing innovation. In this model, it suggests that employees should spend their time doing the following to maximize innovation;

  • Core Business Tasks – 70%
  • Related Projects – 20%
  • Unrelated Projects – 10%

According to Eric Schmidt and even Google, this is the best method for encouraging innovation within a group of employees.

Just as importantly, the 702010 model supports a culture of “yes” rather than “no.” It promotes “what-if,” out-of-the-box thinking. This positive framework feeds our core business while also encouraging new ideas and big dreams that can become huge wins for the company—those 10x moonshots we were talking about earlier. In the long run, a few of those unrelated 10% ideas will turn into core businesses that become part of the 70%. And that’s good for business and the bottom line.

Electrolux Case