We have reported in the past on Microsoft's special building on its Redmond, Washington campus called The Garage, which was designed for any Microsoft employee to use for working on any side project at any time. Recently, The Garage was the host to a new event at Microsoft, the Startup Weekend.
Next at Microsoft reports that 70 company employees took part in the company's first Startup Weekend. The non-profit organization that helped to organize Microsoft's event has already held hundreds of such weekends all over the world since it launched in 2007. The idea is that for 54 hours, people who attend pitch their ideas for products. Teams are then formed that work on the best idea pitches and develop them. At the end of the weekend, the teams present their final concepts to a panel of judges.
The blog states, "Ideas ranged from an app that searches code repositories for samples to a sensor that measures your houseplants’ distance from death’s door." In fact, the houseplant "death" sensor was the actual winner of Microsoft's first Startup Weekend.
It's not all fun and games. The blog states, "The judges sniffed out teams that failed to define market viability and they weren’t exactly gentle about it." However, the event was successful enough that Microsoft will be holding future Startup Weekends at The Garage.
Source: Next at Microsoft