The Garage started out in 2009 in Office Labs with a simple vision of giving people at Microsoft an opportunity to embrace their inner innovator and explore grassroots projects, mostly as side projects. Later, it was expanded company-wide allowing employees to experiment with their ideas. It connects Microsoft engineers and engineering projects with real customers to evaluate how technologies are being received. The Garage is now a global community of more than 10,000 hackers, coders and makers. Today, Microsoft is celebrating two years of The Garage.
In the last two years, The Garage has evolved from a 24-hour idea factory to a program dedicated to encouraging all employees to take their ideas and bring them to life. The Garage provides resources such as expert advisors, maker spaces, hackathon tools, workshops, an intern program, and product-market fit testing to empower employees to follow their passion and create a project that might just make it all the way into a Microsoft product.
“The Garage is very focused on the bleeding edge of experimentation, moving forward at all times. We help Microsoft be better at experimenting, to be faster, to test ideas and to learn by doing,” says Jeff Ramos, partner director of The Garage. “We’ve really taken Satya Nadella’s challenge to be more customer obsessed seriously, putting projects in the hands of real customers.”