Large tech companies are always trying to hire the best and brightest to work within their walls. However, with talent and imagination comes the desire to do more and take risks. Companies like Microsoft are constantly at risk of losing some of their best employees because they wanted to try something different. One of Microsoft’s attempts to retain talented employees comes in the form of encouraging them to do more.
Garages are the beginning of so many massive companies because they epitomize a flexible and low-risk environment. To emulate the draw and environment of garages Microsoft has built The Garage which is a maker space for employees to experiment and try new things. Some of the ideas coming out of The Garage are silly and fun like remote controlled volcanoes but some are small but powerful like an attachment checker for Outlook.
"The idea behind The Garage centers on the concept of failing fast"
The idea behind The Garage centers on the concept of failing fast. By taking a risk and bringing an idea into reality, it can be evaluated as fun or functional or both! Another key element to The Garage is freedom to be flexible. There is not one formula for success nor a single path of inspiration. Ideas form organically from failure rich environments where trying new things leads to understanding what works and what doesn’t.
Creating an environment where Microsoft employees can have fun making things happen can also instill the feeling that new and different ideas are valuable. Not only is Microsoft big, but they are an old tech company which is famous for many legacy tools and products. Developers, managers, and testers all need to know they have a space where they can be free to take risks outside of their professional work. Ideally, The Garage will be the source of the next billion dollar business from within Microsoft, but even if no products come from it, spending time experimenting is never time wasted.