CWU News

Microsoft Brings Innovation Workshop to CWU

ELLENSBURG, Wash. — Central Washington University hosted the first-ever Microsoft Innovation Centers Pilot Workshop to be held in the United States on Friday. The workshop promotes innovation and entrepreneurship to help individuals take an idea to the marketplace.

“We’re extremely honored to have been selected as the host campus for the roll-out of this program in the United States,” said William Provaznik, associate professor of management at CWU. “The workshop incorporates a unique curriculum designed to help students understand how to get an idea from the concept stage to a finished product.”

The program is based on the research of Dr. Tina Seelig, a Stanford University professor, who authored, “InsightOut: Get Ideas Out of Your Head and Into the World.”

Microsoft executive Jose Eduardo Campos, director of business development worldwide/public sector for Microsoft; introduced the workshop and said Microsoft wanted to create an incubator for potential entrepreneurs to help them develop ideas and products that could have a meaningful impact on society.

“We’ve tested this concept in seven countries to over 1,000 students,” Campos said. “But this is the first time the polished content comes to be used at a university. We hope to use this with other students and universities in the future.”

Campos said Microsoft was particularly pleased to bring the workshop to Central because of the solid partnership that has developed during the past year between his company and the school. He cited the success of GAME ON!, a youth program that combines computer science education with soccer training to promote youth leadership and computer coding skills. Microsoft, CWU, and the Real Madrid Soccer Club are partners in GAME ON!, which kicked off earlier this year.

During the workshop, attended by 28 CWU students, participants explored ways to develop product ideas as well as determine whether there is a need for the product and how to manufacture and market that product.

Ed Steidl, Microsoft’s Global Director of Microsoft Innovation Centers, who conducted the workshop and helped develop the program, told students that the purpose of them was to empower people to feel free to become entrepreneurs.

“If you give people the tools, they can change the world,” he said. “It’s just that most don’t know how to do it.”

Media contact: Rich Moreno, director of content development, 509-963-2714,