community

Join the ever-growing community of Kendall Square!

Join the ever-growing community of Kendall Square!

What’s next for Kendall Square after its amazing 5-year run? Scott Kirsner, BostonGlobe columnist, BetaBoston blogger, and editor of InnoLead asks this question in his most recent piece for BetaBoston. In the article, he discusses the exponential growth of the Kendall Square area in the past 5 years, from tech moguls to internet commerce, social media firms and startups dominating the area.

We established our presence here in Kendall Square here in 2007.  We now have nearly 800 employees in two, separate offices, and nearly 900 employees in Massachusetts, including our store locations.

We are proud to be part of this ever-growing community and are always looking for more innovators to join our team. Think you can make a difference in the next five years? We invite you to take a look at our job openings and help us make an impact in Kendall Square and beyond.

Read Scott’s piece in the Boston Globe here.

Microsoft New England Picks: 4 Not-To-Miss Events This Week

Microsoft New England Picks: 4 Not-To-Miss Events This WeekIt’s (un)officially summer! Join us for these cool events as the weather heats up!

bvMotion Tracking for Medical VR with Polhemus
Wednesday, May 27: 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
@ Venture Cafe | 1 Broadway | Cambridge, MA
Twitter: @BostonVRMeetup

Motion tracking technology allows the position of real world objects, including you, to be represented in virtual worlds. Precisely registering the position and orientation of your head, body, limbs and even fingers gives you a sense of self called proprioception that is key to making your mind believe that your body is present in another place. Motion tracking is also key for VR because it allows one to naturally move through and interact with virtual worlds in the same manner that you do in the real world. This month, Boston VR Meetup focuses on healthcare applications for precise tracking technology for training surgeons.

unnamed (1)KSA Lunch & Learn: Good News on Transportation
Thursday, May 28: 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
@ KSA Office | 510 Kendall Street | Cambridge, MA 
Twitter: @kendallnow

Kendall Square continues to be the epicenter of innovation and success, as evidenced in the highlights below to be discussed by City of Cambridge and Cambridge Redevelopment Authority staff.

  • The paradox of good development: more people and less traffic: 20 years of the Kendall Square Annual Traffic Report
  • It’s obvious that more and more people are choosing to get around by pedaling – but how many more?  The new Eco Totem will provide real-time data, 24/7
  • Bike to the Future: what’s envisioned for making our streets available to all: The Cambridge Bicycle Network Plan & some highlights for Kendall Square
  • Kendall Square Eco District and Transportation
  • Update on Kendall Square Mobility Task Force

The format will include a brief presentation with a question and answer period to follow.

onein3GA + ONEin3 Present: Creating a Culture of Innovation – How Boston’s Biggest Brands Are Staying Entrepreneurial
Thursday, May 28: 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

@ GA Boston | 51 Melcher Street | Boston, MA 
Twitter:  @GA_boston | @ONEin3

Some of Boston’s biggest companies are playing in the innovation space and making some big waves. Working for an entrepreneurial and creative organization doesn’t have to mean working for a startup – many large institutions value new ideas and are doing cool things right here in Boston.

Learn from the people inside these institutions who are leading the charge and pick up some tips on cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset in your career.

Join in for an interactive panel discussion with plenty of time for networking over drinks with fellow young leaders in Boston.

unnamedOpen Data Sci Con
Saturday, May 30 – Sunday, May 31st
@ Boston Convention Center | 415 Summer Street | Boston, MA
Twitter: @OpenDataSci

The Open Data Science Conference brings together the most influential practitioners, innovators, and thought leaders in the open source and data science fields in an effort to encourage the development and use of open source in data science.

Girls from New England head to Technovation Finals

technovation-logo-300x137On the first Friday in May, Microsoft was packed with girls. Yes, GIRLS! The 10th floor was filled to capacity with young women interested in technology and proud to show off the amazing apps they developed for a national competition called Technovation. I was honored serve among a truly stellar panel of judges:  Julia Austin (formerly Akamai), Kara Shurmantine (MassChallenge), Tracy Rosenthal-Newsom, (formerly Harmonix) and Pamela Aldsworth (Silicon Valley Bank).

Rachel Nicoll of Mass Tech Leadership Council’s Education Foundation shared that some of our finalists will be heading to California to pitch in the Technovation Finals for the chance to win $10,000!  She sat down to answer a few questions about Technovation and the interview is included below.

Share Technovation with a young woman you know today!

  1. What is Technovation?

Technovation is an international program that teaches mobile app development, entrepreneurship, and community engagement. High school and middle school female students work in teams of up to 5 to develop mobile apps to solve a problem in their local community. Teams work with a classroom teacher or coach at their school and a female mentor/role model as project manager from the technology or related industry. The program is free and open to all girls age 10-18 with any level of experience (“beginners welcome”).

  1. What kind of participation did we see from Massachusetts?

There were 40 teams from 18 schools signed up at the start of the season; 28 teams finished. A bit of attrition is normal, but the numerous blizzards and school closings really hit the teams hard. We are looking at ways to address the Technovation schedule and get the students in “Technovation-mode” earlier so this is less of an issue in the future. Let’s get 40 to finish next year!

  1. Tell us about the apps that won the MA regional competition.

Five teams  – 4 high school and 1 middle school – from the Massachusetts Regional Showcase progressed to the Semifinal round. There are 18 teams representing US/Canada at the high school level – our 4 Massachusetts teams represent almost 1/4 of that region!

AMEKA (Winchester High School) addresses the issue of impaired driving via their Safe Guard Driving app. Through a series of tests, users can ascertain whether or not their vision, reaction times, balance & cognitive ability are impaired or not. In the future, the app has the potential to be connected to ignition interlock technologies if partnered with an automobile company.

Seventh (Phillips Academy) created The Pack: Safety in Numbers, a comprehensive safety app intended for teenagers and young adults that addresses the problems of sexual assault, hazing, and substance abuse in unfamiliar situations. The Pack is an expanded, digitized version of the time tested buddy system, including a friend-compass and check-in code among its features.

Techtonic’s (Winchester High School) application, ENKI, is intended to serve as a bridge between members of the school community. Teachers are able to post assignments, students are able to communicate with their peers and advisors, users can interact with teachers and classmates using the messaging capabilities, and all users receive automatic updates. Students are able to interact with their peers as well as interact with their teachers in a scholastic environment. The academic atmosphere of ENKI ensures that these communications will solely be scholarly.

WoCo (Phillips Academy) designed PraisePop as an interactive, social, and positive way to engage with the community. Too often people feel alone, excluded and unacknowledged due to negativity; PraisePop counteracts this by providing a method to spread positivity and inclusivity in communities by anonymously sharing uplifting posts.

Appily Ever After (Blake Middle School) created OpportuniTeens to connect non-profit organizations with teen volunteers. Using this app, teens can fulfill volunteer opportunities within local communities, organizations have a place to spread the word about these opportunities, and high school students can acquire community service hours to graduate.

  1. What’s next for the Technovation competitors?

Two of the MA semifinalists, AMEKA and WoCo, have been selected for the World Pitch Event in San Francisco on June 24th. They will pitch their apps live in front of a panel of judges at Yelp’s headquarters, competing against 4 other teams in the high school division for the top prize of $10,000.

Last year’s regional winning team, SKARA, competed in the Boston TechJam Pitch Contest and came in 2nd. They got a lot of great exposure and Constant Contact’s Small Business Innoloft hosted them over the summer to continue to work on their app. I wouldn’t be surprised if a Technovation team or two pop up on the roster for this year’s TechJam Pitch.

What Boston needs to know about startup culture

Across the country, cities just like Boston have been asking, how can we help foster the kinds of eye-popping innovation for which Silicon Valley is famous?

Boston Social Graphic (1280x1280)Meanwhile, startups are chomping at the bit to break into highly regulated industries, such as healthcare and energy, that have the power to transform lives. Yet, they don’t know where to break in and how to get started. An entrepreneur’s success relies on making the right connections, but all too often those connections are left to chance.

These are solvable problems. In fact, they have to be, if we’re going to rely on startups to help us transform our cities’ most important industries.

Startup incubator 1776 and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent six months doing research in cities just like this one. They interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs, business leaders and local governments to figure out exactly what’s working — and what’s not.

The results of that research — Innovation That Matters — were released last week, and it offers a powerful framework to help cities think about how to drive civic entrepreneurship.

And while the report — a first-of-its-kind effort from 1776 and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its Foundation — makes clear exactly how important our strong talent base is for our growth, it surfaced a key area of opportunity, too: enhancing support for local startups from serial entrepreneur leaders, local corporations, angel investors and community incubator programs.

 

Young Inventors Urged to “Stay Crazy” and Make Their Dreams a Reality

Quirky CEO Ben Kaufman Addressing CIC (800x534)

“Stay crazy” was the advice given by Quirky CEO Ben Kaufman to the nearly 1,000 young inventors gathered at the recent Connecticut Invention Convention showcase event.

Kaufman would know. As a self-described “maker and breaker,” Kaufman emphasized the importance is being a little crazy—so crazy that you follow keep on inventing even when others may not see your vision. As the founder and CEO of Quirky, he has created a new paradigm for making invention accessible to everyone in a crowdsourced fashion. Kaufman’s unique concept and commitment to invention has led to profiles in the New York Times, Fortune Magazine, TIME, and many other publications.

Ben Kaufman was a fitting guest speaker for this annual event, now in its 32nd year, which is the largest of its kind in the country. An inventor all throughout this childhood, Kaufman remarked on the important support he received from his parents. Instead of quashing his fantastical thinking, they encouraged it.

In his talk to the young inventors gathered on May 2nd at the Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Connecticut (UConn campus), he remarked how he would have loved to have the support of an organization like Connecticut Invention Convention when he was a kid. The assembled K-12 students had just wrapped up a long day of enthusiastically showcasing their diverse range of inventions to the thousands of people in attendance.

But the main takeaway he wanted to inventors to have is that the process is not ending at the event when the awards are given out—it is just beginning. Commenting on the inventions he had seen throughout the day’s event, he stated how he would love to buy some of the inventions as finished products.

He wanted the inventors to be encouraged to continue tinkering with their ideas, and to treat them with a level of seriousness. He wasn’t talking to kids with fanciful ideas, but potential current and future entrepreneurs.

Connecticut Invention Convention (800x534)

Microsoft Accessibility Award Winners

Name: Cooper Dwyer
Town: Somers, CT
School: Somers Elementary School QUEST Program
Grade: 2
Invention: Pajama Weights

Name: Samuel Harmon
Town: Colchester, CT
School:  Nathan Hale-Ray Middle School
Grade: 5
Invention: Beep

Name: Eli Mathieu
Town: Colchester, CT
School:  Talcott  Mountain Academy of Science, Math & Tech
Grade: 8
Invention: Listen4Me

Name:  Logan Reese
Town: Naugatuck, CT
School: Cross Street Intermediate School
Grade: 5
Invention: The Shoe-matic Popper Box

Name:  William Seward
Town: Branford, CT
School:  Totoket Valley Elementary School
Grade: 4

Invention: The Safety Swing
Name: Liam Wrynn
Town: Ellington, CT
School: Charles H. Barrows STEM Academy
Grade: 3
Invention: Port Plug Pocket

Social Innovation Forum Branches Out

Social Innovation Forum Branches OutSocial ventures are a phenomenal model for economic growth in Boston – organizations that are not only creating jobs and earning revenue but also doing good at the same time. The Social Innovation Forum has introduced me to some very creative social ventures, such as:

  • InnerCity Weightlifting, an organization using fitness training as a tool to reduce violence and promote professional, personal and academic achievement among urban youth, empowering young people with the confidence to say no to violence and yes to opportunity.
  • Catie’s Closet, which improves school attendance by providing clothing and basic necessities to students living in poverty in MA and NH
  • Company One Theatre, aimed to change the face of Boston theatre by uniting the city’s diverse communities through innovative, socially provocative performance and developing civically engaged artists.
  • GRLZradio, an after-school and summer program that gives girls from Boston the opportunity to learn radio technology and communication skills, and spread the message of possibility rather than despair; respect rather than abuse.

As we support other social ventures, we have been proud to support Root Cause, it’s Social Innovation Forum and the dozens of non-profits that have gone through their outstanding program throughout the last 12 years. Recently, the Social Innovation Forum announced that it will be branching out from its parent organization, Root Cause, to begin a new chapter. We couldn’t be more excited to see this program grow further.

RootCause was originally founded in 2003 with the objective of improving social problem solving.  The organization has worked with other organizations in a variety of social service sectors, including economic empowerment, education and youth development, and health & well-being.  RootCause works with the public and private sectors to develop solutions for today’s social issues by providing guidance on making the right choice when it comes to investing.

The Social Innovation Forum (SIF) was one of RootCauses first initiatives.  Since it started in 2004, SIF has donated over $20 million in cash and support to Social Innovators and Impact Entrepreneurs.  SIF annually selects 5-8 early-stage nonprofits (Social Innovators) and 4-8 for-profit and hybrid organizations (Impact Entrepreneurs) to take part in an intensive due-diligence course. SIF brings together over 1,500 philanthropists, investors and others with the goal of growing these organization that address social issues.

The Social Innovation Forum will become a separate organization over the course of this year, staying true to its original mission. Susan Musinksy will assume the position of Executive Director and Katie Barnett, SIF’s current Associate Director will also aid in the transition.

Learn more about the Social Innovation Forum:

Every ‘Today’ is Earth Day

einc_logoLast week we celebrated Earth Day. Every April 22 we have an opportunity to show support for our beautiful earth. People all around the globe pick up trash, plant trees, help animals that have been affected by pollution and raise awareness about the realities of climate change. Each year over 192 countries participate in this pro-environment day. But Earth Day is over and it will not be with us again for another whole year. The thing is, the earth needs us every day of the year. So, what are some things we can all do to help the earth in little ways every day?

We are “e” inc. “e” for Environment, “e” for Energy, “e” for Earth. We are an environmental science non-profit that brings the science of the planet to 6500 children each year. We lead action programs in multiple school districts helping students create and maintain projects to help protect the planet.

e-inc

(L-R) The “e” inc. team in their education space in Charlestown, MA | Students at West Somerville Neighborhood School learning about the Web of Life with one of our “e” inc. educators | Fletcher Maynard Academy, in Cambridge, is one of the many schools who participate in “e” inc. programming

Here are some wonderful ideas that the students from “e” inc. are sending your way in order to help you make every day Earth Day. Every small thing you do as a Planet Protector adds up to a big change:

HarvardKent

Karen

VegGarden

Planet Protector

Composters2

california

Save Energy

Stay-curious

Jen Hagen is an “e” inc. action educator. To learn more about “e” inc., head to their website.

Microsoft New England Picks: 3 Not-To-Miss Events This Week

Events-FeatureWe hope you all enjoyed Marathon Monday! Here are our top picks for events this week.

1) CSF-logoCambridge Science Festival
All week  (April 17 – 26)
Various Locations
@CSFtweets | #CambSciFest 

This week is PACKED with awesome events as part of Cambridge Science Festival. Check out our blog post featuring picks from some KSA members. Explore the full schedule of events at cambridgesciencefestival.org.

 

2) Boston-Coding-CampBoston Coding Camp (Presented By The Young People’s Project and Resilient Coders)
Monday April 20 – Friday April 24, 8:30am – 3:30pm
@ Hack/Reduce, 275 Third St, Cambridge, MA
@resilientcoders | @YPeoplesProject |#boscodingcamp

Students will be taught by tech professionals, and coached along by their peers, as they spend a week building their own websites. During that time, they’ll learn HTML/CSS, pick up Agile/Lean practices. And they’ll meet local tech entrepreneurs and authors. On Friday, April 24, students will present their websites with plans for the “Next Steps”.  Registration for camp is now closed, but you can register for Demo Day.

 

3) MS-Open (1)Microsoft and DataStax present: Scaling Out Without Flipping Out
Thursday, April 23, 6:00pm – 9:00pm
@ District Hall, 75 Northern Ave, Boston, MA
@DataStax | @Azure

Attendees will get an in-depth introduction to Cassandra and how it’s different from other databases they have probably used, info on how to build an application with the DataStax tools and drivers, and how easy it can be to deploy it all in Azure. For more information or to register, visit: https://aka.ms/MSOpenBoston.

 

Microsoft and City Year: A Shared Belief in the Power of Young People

Microsoft and City Year: A Shared Belief in the Power of Young People

City Year’s founding was fueled by the energy, ideas and resources of the private sector. Today City Year is a public private partnership—supported by grants from the Corporation for National and Community service, school district partnerships, and private philanthropy from individuals and families, foundations, and corporations. Our corporate partners continue to play a critical role in City Year’s ability to help students and schools succeed, and Microsoft is at the heart of this work.

City Year recruits talented, idealistic young adults for a year of full-time service in urban, high-poverty schools to help students stay in school and on track to graduate from high school, ready for college and career success. Diverse teams of City Year AmeriCorps members partner with public schools to directly support academic achievement and student engagement in and outside of the classroom—tutoring students one-on-one, serving as an additional resource for teachers, and leading after school programs and school wide initiatives to improve student achievement and build a positive school culture.

We are proud that Microsoft has been partnering with us on this work for more than 15 years. Just like Microsoft, we seek to achieve results that are supported by data. It is because of these results that we know that we are making a difference. Our corps provides our students and schools multiple, consecutive years of support to help students catch up and keep up. We’re helping to accelerate student learning. For example, City Year analyzed national Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) data, and found that last year students City Year worked with in grades 3-9 had an average growth rate of 1.4 times what was expected in literacy and math. This would not have been possible without the commitment of sponsors including Microsoft, one of our original in-kind partners.

Microsoft began partnering with City Year in 1999, generously donating $5 million in software and helping to build the foundation of our organization. Since then, Microsoft has invested directly in our work in high-need schools. To date, Microsoft has donated more than $23.4 million through financial funding and in-kind support. Through the YouthSpark initiative, Microsoft invests in two areas of our work, the schools and our mathematics curriculum. It supports City Year AmeriCorps teams serving in four schools in New York City, Washington, DC, Chicago and Seattle. Every team Microsoft sponsors is part of the Diplomas Now collaboration among City Year, Johns Hopkins Talent Development and Communities In Schools, which is helping to turn around some of the nation’s most troubled schools. Microsoft’s support helped generate improved results in student attendance and course performance, in addition to providing engaging service opportunities for Microsoft employees.

The company has also invested in City Year’s mathematics curriculum, helping our program team build a research-based instructional framework and provide professional development trainings for corps members. As a result, the number of students who will receive math interventions will increase from 8,500 to 14,000 during the 2014-2015 school year. This year, Microsoft armed these teams with Surface tablets to help support these crucial math initiatives.

Microsoft’s support makes so much possible. It helps us to deepen our impact, scale our work, strengthen our math program, and produce remarkable results for the children and communities we both serve.

We couldn’t agree more with Lori Forte Harnick, Microsoft’s General Manager of Citizenship and Public Affairs: “Our future success as a society, across the U.S. and throughout the world, will largely depend on the knowledge and capacity of today’s youth to drive innovation and address increasingly complex global challenges. An investment in youth reflects our belief in the potential and promise of the world’s 1.4 billion young people.”

www.cityyear.org

Microsoft and City Year A Shared Belief in the Power of Young PeopleMichael Brown is CEO and Co-Founder of City Year, an education-focused nonprofit organization that mobilizes idealistic young people for a year of service in high-need schools​ and promotes the concept of voluntary national service as means of building a stronger democracy.​

This year 2,800 City Year AmeriCorps members are helping to address the nation’s high school dropout crisis and turnaround low performing schools by serving as full-time tutors, mentors and role models in high-need schools in 25 U.S. cities. City Year also has affiliates in South Africa and the UK. Through its national initiative, “In School and On Track: A National Challenge,” City Year aims to significantly increase the urban graduation pipeline in America. 

To learn more about Microsoft’s commitment to youth and education, visit our YouthSpark Hub or follow us on twitter at @msftcitizenship.

Microsoft New England Picks: 5 Not-To-Miss Events This Week

Microsoft-Events-Boston

Winter is definitely here. Time to get inside for some awesome events! Here are three not to miss this week Microsoft New England:

tech-breakfast1) Boston TechBreakfast with HoppinIn, Rejjee, Inc., iClinical Inc, HireAction
Tuesday, February 17, 8:00am – 10:00am
Twitter: @TechBreakfast @HoppinIn @RejjeeApp @iClinicalData @HireAction

Based on the popular TechBreakfast format, the Boston TechBreakfast is a “show and tell” format event where up to five different technologists will demo their technologies from a wide range of industries ranging from software to hardware, IT to Biotech, robotics to space tech. The event is “triple agnostic”. We don’t care if the technology is from a start up, a large company, a university, a government agency, or someone’s hobby. We are also agnostic as to the industry of the tech – it could be IT, biotech, robotics, aerospace, materials sciences, anything tech and innovative is cool. And we’re also region agnostic – even if you’re not from where we’re hosting, we want to see you and your technology!

boston-new-tech2) Boston New Technology February 2015 Product Showcase
Tuesday, February 17, 6:00pm
Twitter: @BostonNewTech #BNT50

Celebrate our 50th Boston New Technology Product Showcase!

Free event! Come learn about 7 innovative and exciting technology products and network with the Boston/Cambridge startup community! Each presenter gets 5 minutes for product demonstration and 5 minutes for Q&A. Please follow @BostonNewTech and use the #BNT50 hashtag in social media posts: details here.

challenge-cup17763) 1776 Challenge Cup: Regionals
Thursday, February 19, 5:30pm – 9:00pm
Twitter: @1776 #1776Challenge

Challenge Cup is a global competition to identify the most promising startups focused on solving the world’s biggest challenges in education, energy & sustainability, health, and transportation & cities.

4) Global Urban Datafest: Smart Cities Challenge 
Saturday, February 21, 8:30am – 7:00pm @ Harvard Innovation Lab
Twitter: @DataFestNet #SmartCityHack

global-urban-datafestThe Challenge: Join us and work with Massachusetts cities to solve real challenges they face. Help Holyoke develop solutions to improve its pedestrian experience & support Somerville measure the impact of its city services.

Who Should Participate: Everyone! You don’t need to be a technology expert to participate… We’re looking for business thinkers, policy analysts, journalists, designers, community organizers, urban planners, or anyone else who is interested in solving real urban challenges.

Find more information + register here.

Code-for-boston5) CodeAcross Boston
Saturday, February 21, 9:00am – Sunday, February 22, 2:00pm
Twitter: @CodeForBoston #CodeAcross

Please join Code for Boston for a weekend of discussion, civic hacking, and data-driven exploration at our second annual CodeAcross event on February 21-22, 2015.

This year, Code for Boston is collaborating with MassIT, the IT department for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; our municipal partners; and local community groups to use state and local data in exploring the civic and social issues that face our local communities. The issues that we are focusing on this year are around public safety and justice, health and human services, economic development, and citizen engagement, and celebrating open data in MA as part of International Open Data Day.

At CodeAcross, we’ll bring together government employees, technologists, and regular citizens to start working together on creative solutions to some of these issues. We’re aiming for CodeAcross to have something for everyone – this is definitely not a just-for-coders type of event – by combining the best elements of unconferences and hackathons.

We can’t wait to see you all for a couple days of collaboration, problem solving, and civic hacking!