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Microsoft OneWeek Innovation Initiative: Encouraging Creativity
Today a stunning array of important technologies appear likely to transform the world within a short period of time. Microsoft Corporation seeks to foster the development of innovation through a OneWeek initiative involving some 2200 teams of employees drawn from around the globe.
Encouraging a Culture of Creativity
Senior Microsoft administrators hope that the OneWeek initiative, conducted in 2015 during the week of July 27th, will inspire a host of new ideas within the company. The program provides a week long inclusive “celebration” of the people, concepts and products which have formed the fabric of the company.
It occurs in conjunction with another creative project, the Imagine Cup. In that initiative, student finalists in Redmond interact with Microsoft employees as they work for a week to prepare presentations of innovative ideas they hope to realize using technology.
Both the OneWeek initiative and the Imagine Cup seek to inspire the realization of important dreams and goals through the application of technology in beneficial ways. These annual efforts will emphasize world-wide efforts, focusing on teams located in many different places, rather than exclusively in Microsoft's Redmond headquarters.
Many Worthy Projects
The OneWeek Initiative, referred to by some Microsoft writers as a “hackathon,” involves teams of Microsoft employees collaborating with one another across widespread geographic areas and even across disparate departments. Each team brainstorms ideas, or considers projects requested by members of the public. Then for an intensive week, team members work to transform visions into realities.
One of the projects entertained by teams in 2015 included a Beekeeper Project aimed at obtaining enhanced agricultural production through sustainable honey bee hives. Microsoft employee James O'Gorman drew upon his roots in a family that raised bees to search for ways to enhance the hives.
The Ability Hackathon: Eye Gaze team undertook another project, one suggested by former NFL player Steve Gleason. He urged them to find a way to assist people afflicted by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a disease typically causing progressive paralysis, to develop a means for people using eye-tracking technology to speak to also use eye tracking to turn devices on and off. This innovation would enhance the independence of many disabled users, because they would no longer have to ask caregivers to assist them in starting or shutting down electronic devices.
An Innovative Culture
As helpful as many of the projects tackled by Microsoft teams during the OneWeek initiative might prove for people in the future, Microsoft's management team also notes another benefit flowing from this effort. CEO Satya Nadella reportedly hopes that the collaboration will generate even greater innovation, providing lasting benefits to the company through the encouragement of new ideas and applications.
By including everyone in the firm within the scope of the project, and not simply streaming the results from Redmond, the company aspires towards greater grassroots creativity. And that trend will likely continue to help mold the future.
We were hosted by Microsoft to attend the Imagine Cup finals and to explore the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Washington. This is one in a series of posts. To see the complete series, start here: