Innovation at Work

Dustine and Michael, Phase I Scholars
Photo of Phase II DO-IT Scholars Alicia and Aaliyah do an activity with cards with Intern Kaylie during the video games workshop during Summer Study 2013
Phase II DO-IT Scholars, Alicia, Aaliyah, do an activity with cards with intern, Kaylie, during the video games workshop during Summer Study 2013.

We had a great time at the Microsoft Campus. We learned about designing innovative products that serve the needs of people with disabilities. Scholars worked in groups to build a potentially useful product: a robotic service dog for people with disabilities. The activity provided a taste of how project development teams work together on a new invention.

A panel of Microsoft employees told stories of their disabilities and how they came to work at Microsoft, along with pieces of advice. Jenny Lay-Flurrie, the chair for the Cross Disability Employee Resource Group (ERG), advised us to consider disclosing our visible disabilities before the job interview, so that the proper accommodations can be made.

After the panel, Brannon Zahand talked about marketing video games. Brannon explained that Microsoft was making changes through feedback from people with disabilities to improve their games. The next speaker was Jessie; she explained what the definition of a game is, how games are classified, and the differences between AAA games, like Dragon Age Origins, and Indie games, like Plants verses Zombies. AAA games usually have large amounts of funding, resources, and marketing put into the creation of the game, while Indie games are usually created with less funding, often by a much smaller company.

Before we went to the Microsoft campus, we did not know about the video game industry and how Microsoft has responded to people with disabilities who use adaptive technology. We learned how to prioritize and work better as a team. We were left with a sense of awe and the belief that we could DO-IT!