Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s recently released book “Hit Refresh” paints an interesting and insightful picture of the company’s transformation-in-progress both cultural and strategic. It also reflects what Microsoft showed to customers and partners at the showpiece Envision conference in Orlando, Florida, two months ago. (Indeed, the story woven through the conference seems clearly aligned with the story Nadella has told in his book.)
Once a year, Microsoft's Envision conference provides an opportunity for customers and partners to get "the big picture" of where the organisation is heading, and how technology is enabling fascinating new human endeavours. Both Nadella’s book and his conference keynote address highlighted the company’s major twofold shift in recent times - initially of culture, and - most recently - of strategic vision.
Regarding culture, Nadella describes Microsoft's as a transformation in progress, one driven by the company’s need to embrace new opportunities as their traditional markets and products dwindled. This transformation has focused on freeing and entreating all employees to connect their most personal passions with what they do inside Microsoft - from the board on down. This connection between personal and corporate passion has borne fruit including inspiring and life-changing tools such as Microsoft's reading tools that open the world of literature to dyslexic children, and a watch that helps those with Parkinsons - tools born out of "Hackathons" that allow staff dedicated time to work collaboratively on their passion projects.