When was the last time you participated in a science fair?Microsoft employees hold science fairs about twice a year. It’s good old-fashioned fun, but it’s also serious career-building business.
Microsoft has this on-campus techno lab called the Garage. It’s located in Bill Gates old office and is equipped with stuff like a soldering iron, 3D printers and plenty of software development tools. People go in there on their off hours and tinker with stuff. Sometimes whole teams will take a week of “Garage time,” reports reports CNN Money’s David Goldman. That’s sort of like Google’s 20% free time.
There’s no rules to these projects. One employee created a self-levelling skateboard. Another project was something called Mouse Without Borders, which lets you use the same mouse on two different PCs at the same time.
Every few months, employees show of their Garage projects at a company-wide science fair, complete with poster board. These fairs attract hundreds of people including senior vice presidents, so it’s not just for fun. It can be a way for employees to get noticed by execs.
Science fair projects are judged by a panel. They even wear white lab coats.
The winners get a pretty hot prize: They get to set off a homemade volcano named Mount St. Awesome. Because, as everyone knows, you can’t have a science fair without a volcano.