If you want to get a sense of how Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella thinks he’s doing at his job, now nearly two years in, he gave the world a hint on Thursday.
Under Nadella, Microsoft’s mission is “to enable people and businesses throughout the world to realise their full potential.”
So to make a case for how the company is doing with this broad and hard-to-measure objective, he shared these 10 stories from his travels in the year.
1. Cancer research in the cloud.
Cancer researchers at Virginia Tech are using Microsoft’s cloud Azure to conduct their research faster. “The result? Faster, more targeted solutions to conquer one of the major healthcare challenges of our time,” Nadella writes.
2. Bionic arms for kids.
Albert Manero founded Limbitless Solutions, based at the University of Central Florida, to build affordable “bionic” 3D-printed arms for children. He’s publishing his designs for free, too, and sharing information via Microsoft’s online note taking app, OneNote.
3. Preserving ancient customs and language in Columbia.
For the past few years, the the Colombian government has been working with the Arhuacos people to store cultural information in a cloud-based Microsoft Dynamics CRM system.
Nadella met with “leaders of the Arhuacos, an indigenous community living deep in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Mountains. They’re an incredible example of how technology can protect sacred cultures while still providing a window for understanding with the rest of the world,” he writes.
4. Using libraries in Chile to teach computer science to kids.
17-year-old Belén Guede runs a program that offers free coding and robotics training at local libraries and she won a global contest from Microsoft called YouthSpark’s Challenge for Change, which awarded winners with tech like a Surface PC, a Windows Phone, free Office 365, and a cash prize.
“One of the things I appreciate most about YouthSpark Challenge for Change winner Belén Guede is that her passion for computer science and robotics is second only to her desire to foster the potential and creativity of Chilean youth,” he explains.
5. Inspiring charitable giving in the UK.
JustGiving is using Microsoft’s cloud and cloud analytics to help people find causes they want to support.
“JustGiving is able to deliver a unique giving experience for donors, while connecting organisations with people who feel passionate about the cause they’re supporting,” Nadella praises.
Microsoft has been one of the developers and champions of White Spaces, a method that uses television broadcasting spectrum to access the internet at very fast speeds.
“A local startup, Mawingu (‘cloud’ in Swahili), uses solar cells to power Wi-Fi hot spots linked with existing ‘TV white spaces.‘ Now, rural areas of Kenya that didn’t have Internet access are online, empowering everyone from farmers to healthcare workers to students to entrepreneurs,” he writes.
7. Eye care for the poor in India.
“Globally, there are 285 million people with visual impairment, 54 million in India alone. We engaged with some of the country’s leading eye care specialists at L V Prasad Eye Institute to understand how advanced analytics and machine learning can help unlock insights from clinical data. Now, doctors can use our cloud-based analytics to further enhance the quality of eye care for the poor,” Nadella explains.
8. Teaching English in Thailand.
“I am so impressed by Khadiyah Amanakun, an English teacher in Betong, Yala who designed an English-language program that seeks to create a positive and technologically centered learning experience for every student,” he writes.
9. Improving China’s pig farming.
“Dr. Pig is an app, powered by Azure Machine Learning, that helps small-scale pig farmers in China predict market conditions in advance to maximise profits and efficiencies and minimise risk,” he writes.
10. Using Minecraft to teach kids to code in Seattle.
Earlier this year, Microsoft and Code.org created the Minecraft Hour of Code tutorial. Nadella says that more than 10 million students in more than 50 countries worldwide completed it.
“One of my favourite things about Minecraft is the platform it offers kids to imagine and create their own worlds. Recently I visited a fourth-grade class in Seattle and it was incredible to see the power of combining a game students love with learning to code in an exciting new way,” Nadella writes.