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ThinkWeek is a long-standing tradition at Microsoft, offering employees the opportunity to engage in meaningful, cross-company dialogue with executives and the ThinkWeek community around topics that impact the future of the company. It is grounded in the premise that open and uncensored conversation, built from diverse ideas and perspectives, is the catalyst for change and transformational innovation.

The Content

ThinkWeek content covers diverse perspectives and topics, and is used to drive dialogue around culture, best practices, new concepts, technology and business strategy. Though ThinkWeek papers are available only to full-time Microsoft employees, the following papers have been edited for viewing outside of Microsoft.

My Generation – Employee Engagement Across Four Distinct Generations at Microsoft
Authors: Prem Kumar, Bennett Hornbostel, & Ross Smith

For perhaps the first time in recorded history, labor markets in the 21st century are comprised of members of four generations. This situation presents very real challenges – and opportunities - to organizations and how they address issues of talent engagement, leadership development and people management.

Online Experimentation at Microsoft
Authors: Ronny Kohavi, Roger Longbotham, Juan Lavista Ferres, Brian Frasca, Randy Henne, Tamir Melamed, Thomas Crook

The Experimentation Platform (ExP) was built to accelerate innovation through trustworthy experimentation.

The Future of the App
Authors: Alan Bush & Tricia Mayer

Customer relationships are moving online. This shift is leading companies to adopt a new kind of business strategy based in contextual interpretation of data. To execute such strategies, companies will adopt a new kind of application architecture. Companies should assess their position relative to these trends, and shape their plans for customer relationship management and information technology architectures accordingly.

ByteWISE - Changing Mindsets to Promote Women In Software Engineering
Author: Shilpa Ranganathan

There is gender diversity in life, but not always in the workplace. This paper describes the ByteWISE initiative formed by women in the Lync Test team and its goal of supporting Women In Software Engineering, changing mindsets and increasing gender diversity to mitigate groupthink and stimulate creativity and innovation

Social Edens
Author: Yoav Intrator

This paper lays out a vision of a new kind of social platform that in addition to mining traditional interest-based communities also mines online sources to look for significant events. The platform would efficiently monitor, memorialize, mine, and monetize temporal occurrences of any kind, such as sporting events, concerts, political rallies, sales, corporate action, centennials, celebrity deaths and births, disasters, and more. The platform would then invite people to form dynamic online communities based on those events. We call these ad hoc, event-driven communities Social Edens. The platform would continuously provide Social Eden members with stimulating, relevant content and tools that match their interests. A provider of such service could commercialize the Social Edens with community-targeted services or mine their content for other collaboration services that no one yet envisions.