Team members sit around conference table talking.

The Garage Growth Framework

Do you want to pursue a passion, come up with a brilliant idea, or move a project forward?

If you’re like many employees, interns, and guests who collaborate with The Garage, you’re looking to form, test, and grow your concepts as effectively as possible—whether you are just getting started with your project or are already working.

You are invited to sample (part of) the Microsoft Garage’s early-stage innovation lifecycle now, as our guest, and preview the foundational topics to consider an idea a team can build together.

Starts with a wave

Every big idea starts with a wave—a trend that presents an opportunity. How do you know when a wave has the potential to carry your ideas forward? Now, imagine you are a surfer to get into the mindset to identify industry trends.

Watch this video

Ed Essey, Director of Intrapreneurship, Microsoft Garage, helps you apply a surfer’s mindset to creating your next big idea.

As you saw in the video

A big idea starts with recognizing a wave.

  • Identify waves—events or trends at a unique point in time.
  • Determine whether each wave is something rare.
  • Find people with diverse skills to ride the wave with you.

Next, learn more about what a wave is and how to spot one.

What is a wave?

Some people associate waves with the ocean, beach, or ripples in a pond. Others associate waves with market changing trends. In this case, a wave is a metaphor for an industry trend on the horizon.

How has a recent wave affected you, the way you work, or your industry?

Watch this video

See Ed describe a wave and learn from examples of market-changing waves.

As you saw in the video

Regardless of what causes a wave—a change in consumer behavior, a new government regulation, a market disruption, or a popular new technology—it inspires a need for ideas and innovation.

  • Consumer interest in saving the environment led to green tech; electric and hybrid cars, solar panel technology, and battery storage platforms.
  • Europe’s General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) led to creating accountability tools at enterprises that hold people’s data.
  • The rise in social media platforms created a need for aggregators and schedulers.
  • The Coronavirus Pandemic triggered several waves such as the need for contact tracing, public-readable data charts, new mask technology, telemedicine, and remote working environments.

Waves are all around you, and you have an opportunity to build a team that can ride a wave together.

Next, discover why having a team is important when riding a wave.

Recruiting a team

As you research waves and socialize your passion for your project, you will meet people with similar passions. Think broadly as you consider who your project needs. Diverse teams have better outcomes.

Watch this video

See Ed share questions you can ask yourself to find the right people for the work.

As you saw in the video

You will meet others with similar passions and goals in hopes of adding them to your team. During your project, you will encounter steps you are unfamiliar with, so having the right people collaborating on a project will result in better outcomes.

The first step is recruiting people—with a diverse skill set—who have the confidence, desire, and ability to do the work. Are the people passionate?

  • Is the team diverse?
  • Are the people open?
  • Is the team able to achieve the work?

When the people “fit” the project, team building happens over time. Build them into a team by introducing types of activities to enhance relations and define roles.

Waves are all around you, and you have an opportunity to build a team that can ride a wave together.

What’s next?

A journey starts with single step. You have taken a first step on your journey to making your idea real.

To learn more about the Microsoft Garage’s early-stage innovation lifecycle, email

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