When it comes to innovation, Microsoft has a three-team relay between research, labs and product development. The challenge is speeding up that process.
ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley reports that Microsoft has been rejiggering its process to speed up innovation and turn research into actual products. Many companies wrestle with the same conundrum so Microsoft's thinking may be instructive. Microsoft's touch interface---Surface---highlights how processes (and their speed) play a big role in innovation.
Although version 1 of the Surface never came to market until 2007, the Surface prototype dated back to 2003 or 2004. What took so long?
The Surface went through a formalized process, as opposed to idea of a product group working from the get-go with Microsoft Researchers. With Surface, “research was trying to shuttle that prod all the way through” to production...Now, research projects at Microsoft often have product group involvement from early on, as was the case with the Kinect sensor, he noted.
By requiring collaboration early in the research and innovation process Microsoft can theoretically determine what ideas can become products.
This slide highlights the groups within Microsoft and the interdependencies.
Looks daunting eh?