Inside ‘The Microsoft Garage’ Lagos

Nigeria has officially joined the league of ‘The Microsoft Garage’ locations following the opening of Microsoft world-class offices for its Africa Development Center (ADC) in Lagos.

After three years of successful operation and hosting at Microsoft’s Lagos hub, Microsoft’s African Development Center (ADC) opened its own offices in Lagos, last week.

The ADC will now be based in its new ultra-modern state-of-the-art facility at the Kings Towers on Glover Road, Ikoyi – housing the product engineering, ecosystem development and innovation teams.

The Microsoft ADC facility was officially launched by  Prof. Isa Ali Pantami, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, accompanied by the Inuwa Kashifu Abdullahi, Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), and Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Governor of Lagos State, represented by Hakeem Fahm, the Commissioner of Science and Technology, among other key guests.

The Microsoft Garage hosted by Microsoft ADC Lagos

L-r: Ms Funke Opeke, CEO, MainOne; Hakeem Fahm, Commissioner for Science and Technology, Lagos State; Gafar Lawal, Managing Director, Microsoft African Development Centre, West Africa; Olatomiwa Lawal, Country Manager, Microsoft Nigeria; Prof. Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy; Joy Chik, Corporate Vice President for the Identity Division in Microsoft’s Cloud + AI group, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, Director General of NITDA at the official commissioning of Microsoft Office in Nigeria and the Microsoft African Development Centre, West Africa…21/03/2022

Speaking at the facility opening, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, lauded the development, noting that it strengthens the country’s position as a leading regional digital innovation hub, putting Nigeria on the path to having the biggest digital economy in Africa.

On the other hand, His Excellency, Governor of Lagos State, said: “I join several Nigerians and Lagosians today in applauding Microsoft’s commitment to developing the tech in our state and country through this state-of-the-art 7-floor facility, which will improve employment and also contribute significantly to the training and rise of many tech giants in Nigeria.”

Sanwo-Olu at The Microsoft Garage 5

L-r: Special Adviser to the Governor on Innovation and Technology, Mr. Olatunbosun Alake; Managing Director, Microsoft Africa Development Center (ADC West Africa), Mr. Gafar Lawal; Corporate Vice President, Identity Division at Microsoft, Joy Chik; Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Lead, Government Affairs, Microsoft Nigeria, Nonye Ujam; Country Manager, Microsoft Nigeria, Olatomiwa Williams and others , during the opening of Microsoft’s New Facility – Africa Development Center (ADC West Africa), at Kings Tower, Ikoyi…21/03/2022.

On his part, Gafar Lawal, the ADC West Africa Managing Director, said: “The facility will continue our efforts towards training, equipping and hiring engineering talent in Nigeria and West Africa as whole to contribute to the development of Microsoft products that are in use by over 1 billion devices and empowering millions of users and organizations across the world to do more,”

Speaking about ADC’s focus for the future, Joy Chik, Corporate Vice President of the Identity and Network Access engineering team at Microsoft, and executive sponsor of the Africa Development Center, said: “Based on the great feedback we have received from engineering leads working with teams in Nigeria, we are definitely going to hire more engineering talent. We will continue to focus on student and community engagements, as well as investments in Microsoft programs, that will help us build a diverse team of talented men and women.”

Olatomiwa Williams, the Country Manager, Microsoft Nigeria and Ghana described the ADC as a platform that supports Microsoft’s mission to empower every person and organisation on the planet to achieve more.

The ADC, she said, is the first Global Development Centre in Africa with a combined expected investment of US $100 million over the first five years of operation.

In May 2019, Microsoft announced the establishment of the Africa Development Center (ADC) in Nigeria and Kenya, with the mission of creating innovative technology not just for Africa, but for the entire world. Afterwards, there was a call for talented engineers to work on Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Mixed Reality, with the company committing to investing 100 million US dollars in the first five years of operation.

Inside the Microsoft Garage

The Microsoft Garage is structured as a freeform workspace where Microsoft employees, interns, schools, and community groups can find the tools and training they need to launch products and learn skills.

The Garage is meant to spread the values of openness and collaboration throughout the Microsoft ADC, where people come to The Garage to work with interdisciplinary teams on passion projects that sometimes make their way into Microsoft products – this should ultimately allow Microsoft ADC to become a more prominent shaper of Africa’s tech culture.

The Garage by Microsoft was designed with the motto “doers, not talkers” and has continued to be the core of what the company stands for.

The Garage attracts people who are passionate about making a difference in the world. They are relentlessly curious and lifelong, hands-on learners. By actively participating in the creative process, regardless of success or failure, each person gets the opportunity to gain valuable insights, increase their knowledge, and learn diverse perspectives.

In the early days of The Garage, the focus was on employees and mobilizing Microsoft’s cultural ambitions.

The Garage helped employees integrate these cultural priorities – Growth Mindset, Customer Obsession, Diversity & Inclusion, One Microsoft, and Making a difference – into everyday work.

As The Garage grew and the culture shift actions gained critical mass, entire teams and organizations began driving their business forward using these actions.

An additional focus of The Garage was helping teams and organizations integrate growth mindset activities into team workflows. More recently, The Garage has continued to evolve by bringing in Microsoft customers to team up with employees for high speed growth mindset activities.

The Garage provides spaces for hacking and making for employees, interns, and the local ecosystem and customers.

There are Garage sites at Microsoft locations around the world: Redmond, Vancouver, Bay Area, Atlanta, Reston/DC, New England, New York City, Dublin, Israel, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, and Beijing and now Lagos (the base for West African market).

The Garage team develops online and in-person programming at each location tuned to the needs of the global and local community. Talks and workshops help hackers explore and cross-pollinate technology.

The Garage is a portal to hack culture at Microsoft. Of course, there is no shortage of good ideas, and with many dependencies on project viability, team motivation, and relevance, results vary. Some ideas end before there this a working prototype.

Others are inspired to continue the journey and iterate on their solution, hoping to bring it to market. A smaller set take their idea all the way to a high quality working solution ready to test in the marketplace.

The flagship Global Hackathon, the largest private hackathon on the planet, attracts more than 70,000 employees and interns from around the world. It offers a fast way to team up, hack, and move an idea forward. Winning teams earn the opportunity to pitch to senior leaders, and many teams continue to work on their projects throughout the year.

Projects are evaluated for patent potential, viability, and alignment to the business. Ideas and prototypes may be selected for further review or funded to continue development.

Internally facing projects may have great impact and improve existing policies, processes or services.

Amazing synergies and connections across technologies and silos are made, and many return to their day job inspired and re-energized.

The Garage Wall of Fame showcases projects that went the distance to become a Microsoft branded product or feature.

Microsoft Garage Lagos Launch Gallery:

The Microsoft Garage

L-r: Sr. Director, The Garage, Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), Linda Thackeray; Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Special Adviser to the Governor on Innovation and Technology, Mr. Olatunbosun Alake, during the opening of Microsoft’s New Facility – Africa Development Center (ADC West Africa), at Kings Tower, Ikoyi…21/03/2022.

The Microsoft Garage

R-L: Lead, Government Affairs, Microsoft, Nonye Ujam; Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Special Adviser to the Governor on Innovation and Technology, Mr. Olatunbosun Alake, during the opening of Microsoft’s New Facility – Africa Development Center (ADC West Africa), at Kings Tower, Ikoyi…21/03/2022


Sr. Director, The Garage, Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), Linda Thackeray, with Prof. Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, during a tour of The Microsoft Garage facility

ADC office Lagos

ADC office Lagos


The Microsoft Garage

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