Case Study: Changing the Culture at Microsoft


Background: Incoming CEO Satya Nadella made the first priority for Microsoft to shift philosophical focus from providing products and services to being of service to customers and fans. Gapingvoid was hired to spread that message internally, and shift behaviors and corporate culture to enhance the new corporate values.


Methodology: Gapingvoid sought to understand how Microsoft’s products and services impact real people in order humanize and provide a more engaging narrative. Gapingvoid conducted both an employee needs assessment and a messaging opportunities assessment to see how to best empathetically communicate new values to be naturally adopted by employees.


Execution: We reimagined internal communications and social networking over the corporate intranet. Both language and visual design were altered with human-centered design principles, including office visual communications and an ebook distributed company-wide. Internal activities were also shifted to reinforce the new values of providing service to customers. Employee communications were altered to increase engagement and utilize empathy.


Results: Nearly all product and service developments have shifted from the lens of ‘design and features’ toward ‘what can this do for our customers’ which is apparent in the external media. Research and development has completely rebranded to delivering for customers. While the concept was developed before us, Gapingvoid lead the messaging and communication to spread this mindset shift throughout the company