Christmas at Microsoft UK HQ: The Festive Devices Showcase days

Readers of the BeYourFuture blog... earlier this week, you will have seen the first real insight into one of the other Intern Stretch Projects here at Microsoft - the marvellous LoveIt team!

Now, sit back and indulge in this fantastic recap of their first event, the brilliant Festive Device Showcase days in both the Reading and London offices, courtesy of the LoveIt team's Communications lead - Andrey Tyurin!

Where did the event take place?

At the Microsoft UK offices in TVP on 7th of December and on the 8th of December in London CP

So, what was the event about?

The Festive Device Showcase days, organised by internal communications, representatives of our device categories and supported by the Love It Team, were the ultimate 48 hours of the festive fun, exciting competitions, mince pies and, of course, all our newest & best Microsoft devices yet! All the Microsoft employees could join the fun on the day by participating in various competitions and visiting the product stands to experience the latest technology on their own. All this whilst our smart "Elfangelists" were demoing the devices to them and explaining all the latest, coolest features. We also had the band, the CC Smugglers performing some of the all-time favourite Christmas songs – further enhancing the festive spirit and literally turning our huge Atrium at TVP into Santa’s grotto.

How did it all work?

Well, like everything else here at Microsoft, it was done with motivated and unprecedented involvement on all employee levels, enjoying and celebrating every technology Microsoft has to offer today and every bit of the upcoming Christmas.

The employees got a Festive Card with 5 spaces to fill in with unique stamps. We had 5 stands each representing a particular device area: Microsoft Band 2, Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Microsoft Surface Book, Microsoft Lumia and OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers) devices. When someone visited a stand, our Elfangelists stamp their Festive Card and demo the product. Once all the 5 stands are visited and 5 stamps are collected, the cards were then put in a post box to be send to Santa. By the end of the week Santa decided upon 36 lucky winners of various prizes that included Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and the Band 2.

So what about the Love It Team?

Exactly! The Love It team (Lene, Katie, Andrey and Anita) managed to organise essentially the core of the event: the “Elfangelist” part and the “Devices” part. We decided on the amount of volunteers the event would require as well as contacted the OEM to ensure the third party devices are available on the days and are loaned out, delivered and set up properly. For volunteers, Love It reached out to our great Intern & Apprentice community for help. The next step was to train the interns beforehand and make sure they knew everything about the products at the stands they were allocated to. As a team, Love It worked hard to prepare the training material and ensure all the questions were answered prior to the event days. On the actual days, they were also solving ad-hoc management puzzles such as how many people could be allowed to go for lunch at the same time without affecting the performance of a device stand, given the volume of visitors. Love It were also required to know everything about the devices to make sure they could cover any stand at any point in time, in case the other Elfangelists disappear from a stand for a while. All that required great collaboration between all four teammates, as well as seamless knowledge of all the devices presented and their key features.

What does the Love It Team think of all of this?

Lene Van der Borght, the Team Lead (Formal role: Field Enablement Coordinator, CSS EMEA): “It was fantastic seeing the event brought to life over the two days! It was a great way to spread Christmas spirit around Microsoft, while showcasing our hottest new devices at the same time. It’s important to get employees excited about our own products, and I think this event did just that!”

Andrey Tyurin, the Communications Lead (Formal role: Support Data Analyst, Bing Ads): “The event required lots of collaboration and really tested our decision-making and negotiation skills. At the same time, the day was a great fun and a truly unique opportunity to meet and network with many Microsoft employees from across the whole organisation. Some of us even managed to demo some products to Area Vice President in the UK – Michel Van der Bel! How is that for a communication experience?”

Anita Kaneti, the Business Group Lead (Formal role: Strategic Marketing Coordinator, Bing Ads): “Amazing two days that brought all Microsoft employees from all the different teams together! It was a great opportunity to celebrate the Christmas and to learn more about Microsoft’s newest products! It was also really good that interns took a massive part in organizing and running the day as well as demoing during the day.”

Katie Gifford, the Events Lead (Formal role: Windows Category Management, CCG): “The Festive Devices Showcase was a great opportunity to amplify the amazing product launches that we have had this FY. It was great to see so many employees coming to get hands on with our newest devices and learning about the new features that these devices bring. With lots of mince pies, mulled wine and prizes on offer, as well as the chance to get your very own Elfie-selfie, the two events in TVP and CP offered a wonderful chance to take a break from the busy festive period.”

And all that above is our usual Love It experience here at Microsoft UK! Who knows, maybe YOU can become a part of Love It next year, and have all the same fun here during your placement year. Stay tuned for more Love It experience!

Andrey Tyurin on behalf of The Love It Team.

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