When Satya Nadella became Microsoft’s third CEO in 2014, he made it clear he was on a mission to refresh the company’s culture. That stance is now being translated into a tangible space where local Microsoft employees can collaborate and learn new skills – upholding to the values of the post-Steve Ballmer era.
Called (not originally) The Garage, the new space is meant to be a community where Microsoft employees can simply make things happen with no pressure to deliver results. Located on the second floor of the Microsoft New England Research and Development Center (or N.E.R.D.) in Kendall Square, The Garage is equipped with 3-D printers, design tools and even a virtual reality room. Events, hackathons and presentations in line with the desire to foster innovation among employees are also part of the plan.
Two weeks in advance of the grand opening scheduled for April 26, BostInno was given a special preview of the new space. As Head of The Garage Linda Thackeray defined it, the area is a “white space” where people can create new things as makers, meet people from other departments, perhaps fail, learn skills and then take it all back to their daily job. The space is open 24/7, she said.
“The industry doesn’t respect tradition, but it respects innovation,” Thackeray said. “If you have an idea but don’t know how to realize it, come here and we’ll make it happen.”
Here’s a gallery of all the photos I took during my tour, with detailed captions on each of the four areas of The Garage.