Learning Innovations from Microsoft

Want to read up on the latest technologies or innovative business thinking?

If you’re committed to continuous learning to maintain your edge in your career, then no doubt you are frequently making trips to Borders or Barnes & Noble, or perhaps online to Amazon to purchase the latest business, technology, or self improvement books. If you are really green and want to save a tree or two, maybe you even go to your local public library.

Many companies say they are committed to employee learning, some even send employees to training courses or conduct internal training classes, but Microsoft takes employee education one step further. They’ve built up their own library at their Redmond, WA campus headquarters that facilitates the acquisition and lending of the latest business and technology titles.

Even vendors can check out a book like The Strategy Paradox by Michael Raynor for three weeks. Audio books on CD, no problem. E-books? The Microsoft library has those too, along with access to online research sources.

If an employee or vendor doesn’t return something their boss gets charged, so that keeps people honest and the library stocked.

Why is this so innovative?

Innovation sometimes requires a commitment that few others are willing to make. How many companies are willing to bear the cost of running their own library?

But yet how many companies constantly complain about the shortage of qualified technology workers?

Making the resources easily available to employees to increase their body of knowledge not only contributes to increased job satisfaction, but also to increased productivity. Making the library available to vendors working on the Microsoft business as well is where one of the key strategic innovations plays out. What a concept!

Microsoft makes use of a large number of contractors and consultants to drive their business and by opening the library to these resources, they increase the return on investment in non-employee resources as well.

What is your company doing to improve productivity and success from supporting continuous learning?


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Braden KelleyBraden Kelley is a Social Business Architect and the author of Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire from John Wiley & Sons. Braden is also a popular innovation speaker and trainer, and advises companies on embedding innovation across the organization and how to attract and engage customers, partners, and employees.

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Braden Kelley

Braden Kelley is a Director of Innovation and Human-Centered Problem-Solving at Oracle, a popular innovation speaker and workshop leader, helps companies build innovation cultures and infrastructures, and plan organizational changes that are more human and less overwhelming. He is the author of Charting Change from Palgrave Macmillan and Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire from John Wiley & Sons. Braden has been advising companies since 1996, while living and working in England, Germany, and the United States. Braden earned his MBA from top-rated London Business School. Follow him on Twitter and Linkedin.

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