Anybody who goes off on their own on company time to do such things today will be fired because it's all about obvious ways to make a profit.
As an IT professional, I did my own research to come up with innovative solutions early on in my career within the same framework. As a result, I was able to come up with real solutions long before anyone else could do it. For example, I developed the sectioning system for selecting classes for students based on their preferences, back when we were still using punched cards. Over two decades ago, I developed the Integrated Voice Response System for the County Permit System for contractors and mom and pop folks who needed to check the status of their building permits and schedule inspections on the telephone (contractors just love me!). It saved tens of thousands of dollars a year and made the lives of people a whole lot easier.
But times change and management has become crazy: Faced with budget cuts and living close to the line with costs cut to the bone, no one can afford such "luxuries" as giving people freedom to develop technology for the good of the order. Management has become terribly short sighted. It does not pay to develop solutions for problems or opportunities which absolutely will develop 8 months to a year from now.
There's also another endemic epidemic problem: Managers and technologists require different skills -- and managers don't understand technologists at all -- they just don't get it. If I may be so bold as to quote Dr. Stanley Schmidt from his editorial, "VIPs" in July/August 2012 edition of Analog Science Fiction and Fact out of context:
We're sometimes told that people tend to be either leaders or followers, and in my experience man do tend to learn more toward one or the other--though in the complex hierarchies of our present societies, many people play both roles in different subroups. And I don't buy the idea that everybody has a natural preference for one or the other. Personally, I don't like to do any more of either than necessary. I prefer to work as independently as possible as much of the time as possible, and it's how I usually work best.
As a manager at Weyerhauser, I had occasion to have lunch with an engineer / scientist one day, as he was being told with his other colleagues that they all had to work as a high performance work group team. "I just don't know how this is going to work," he said as he registered his discomfort in the change to smarmy social interactions to get his work done: He was used to doing his most excellent work alone -- not in a kind of gestalt group. I never found out how it worked for him, since the entire business was sold off and it is likely he lost his job.
And that's just it: Managers think that technologists should think and act like they do. They think that engineers and developers will do their best work sitting around in a bull pen brainstorming (rolls eyes). No, see, you don't have ten people sitting at a workstation writing a single line of code. You have one person writing. Sure, the group can get together and toss the ideas around, but at some point one person has to do the specific work. Management also seems to think that like they do, skilled technologists are interchageable, like plug and play. A tech should be able to write Java code today (Java, what's that, coffee?) and be on the help desk tomorrow. Or this afternoon. Whatever the need, any one tech can do the job of any other tech. After all, that's how it works in management. Thus, outsourcing looks easy and even if you don't outsource, HR should be able to find an IBM Systems Programmer to maintain your legacy system for 8 months as your people rewrite the application for LINUX (what's LINUX?) servers, right?
The problem here is ignorance. Willing, blind ignorance. Narcissistic, willing, blind idiotic ignorance. Plus the fact that these nim nuls, who shouldn't be in charge of a dog pound, with all the conscience of an alley cat, see the world as being all about them, without even a whisper of empathy for the abused worker who keeps getting more and more responsibility to work longer and longer hours because anyone anywhere can do anything, except, of course, the manager who has to find some way to cut costs and make everything happen faster.
Is there anyone out there who still doesn't understand why businesses fail and go bankrupt or are sold off.
Well, except, companies like Apple who can hire Foxconn for their supply chain setup.
Management should work in concert with their IT folks to develop superior products and / or services. The technolgists need a little time. If management keeps the dialog alive, they will be rewarded for their trust. It's scarey, I know: Trust people you can't even begin to understand because you are so inferior in the skills necessary to do the job? Develop a bridge to communicate with those who speak an entirely foreign language? Have the patience to actually wait while technologists make a point so you can see how it will develop the bottom line?
Dust up your resumes guys, the techs aren't buying your management bull and the business is about to be sold.