This is a long post but might be of interest to those folks that liked the Express Yourself event Microsoft hosted back in June of this year. We're doing 5 more of these (Austin, Boston, Chicago, Las Angeles, New York City). For those that want to cut to the chase you can register by going to: http://designchallenge.phizzpop.com/
So I've been at Microsoft a little over a year now. In that time I've seen us get more involved in organizations that are important to me such as DMI and IxDA.org and I've seen us support our community by getting behind events such as An Event Apart, UX Week and UX Intensive. I've even seen us surprise a few folks with the number of Microsoft folks that presented papers at Siggraph or by events we've done around the world to raise awareness of design, from both our own like UX around the world or our participation in events like World Usability Day.
I think we've made some decent progress over the past year in trying to be genuine about where Microsoft is in a journey towards integrating principals of design that are valuable across the spectrum of all the things that an enterprise is expected to do well. But, it's still a journey and we're just getting started.
One of the great advantages of being able to start a journey however is that we get to experiment a bit.
Earlier this year one of my colleagues, Will Tschumy (a fellow user experience evangelist and subscriber to this list) had what I thought was a great idea.
This event was a great success and we've had many people on this list ask me if we'd be doing more of these. I'm happy to announce that we're going to do 5 more of these events this year and then culminate the contest with a final showdown at SxSW in March of 2008.
This event is sponsored by Microsoft's new portal for design, PhizzPop. PhizzPop's goal is to help Web, Design, Application and Advertising agencies meet design, development, and business challenges. It helps agencies and partners gain new customers and (fingers crossed) create compelling solutions using the Microsoft Web and User Experience Platform. We're committed to providing valuable content, programs and training, as well as facilitating collaboration and showcasing great design. PhizzPop is new but it's growing and evolving every day.
The PhizzPop Design Challenge works like this:
36 teams enter. 1 team leaves.
The PhizzPop Design Challenge pits top interactive, Web, and design agencies against one another to push the limits of technology and creativity in a battle royale. Think Mad Max for design.
The regional teams have been selected and will duke it out in New York, Boston, Chicago, Austin, and Los Angeles, with the regional winners competing against one another, and San Francisco winner AKQA, at the South by Southwest Interactive Conference in Austin, TX.
We invite you to register and watch the creativity unfold as you enjoy cocktails on us at venues that inspire and are well...just fun. http://designchallenge.phizzpop.com/ (Please register soon as these things have a habit of filling up quickly).
We're focusing our first series of events in the US only with an eventual goal of making this a global event but that really depends how successful we are with our next five events.
A three person team will get out best training on our platform, support from our best experts in both design and development and a chance to show their chops to over 200 of their design and customer peers at a great venue in each city.
The winning team in each city will get an all expense paid trip to Austin for SxSW to compete in the final round of the design challenge and get the opportunity to win even bigger prizes and a SxSW sponsorship for their sponsoring firm.