The ThinkWeek tradition at Microsoft started more than 20 years ago when Bill Gates began to take one week a year to step away from daily business and spend dedicated time exploring the thoughts and ideas of great thinkers. He began with papers and books that were written outside of Microsoft, but as the years went by many Microsoft employees wrote their own papers for Bill to consider. The process was dubbed “ThinkWeek” and a structure was put in place to facilitate an average of 200-300 papers that were contributed, read by Bill and senior executives, and circulated throughout the company.
The ThinkWeek Evolution
As the company grows and evolves, ThinkWeek also evolves so as to continue to provide value to Microsoft. The program continues to provide executives, thought leaders, and the ThinkWeek community with vital insights and perspectives that drive innovation and growth at all levels. A paper or video contributed to ThinkWeek is only the beginning. The conversation continues with thoughtful feedback from executives and continued dialogue with the community and remains a part of the ThinkWeek archive. ThinkWeek authors are frequently asked to share their ideas and perspectives within the company, creating a meaningful dialogue that is frequently the catalyst for change and collaboration between product, sales, and research teams.
The Value of ThinkWeek
Over the years, ThinkWeek has become a valuable resource for employees and essential to the innovation culture at Microsoft. Not only does it provide a forum for creativity and well-articulated thinking, but its dedication to open and uncensored dialogue creates the necessary environment for innovation and disruptive thinking. The ThinkWeek archives and the tangible connections between people resulting from the ThinkWeek process have resulted in a robust innovation network between product teams, sales teams, research, and great ideas.