The Magic of “Repurposing” – A Lesson from Microsoft

A few weeks ago, Microsoft sold 960,000 Xbox 360s, making it the best selling week in the console’s history.
That makes the Xbox 360 one of their hottest product launches ever in terms of units sold per day!

After selling 8 million units in 60 days, the Kinect holds the Guinness World Record of being the “fastest selling consumer electronics device.”

But wait! The Xbox 360 is 6 years old.
The technology is essentially the same as it was when the console first came out.
How can this happen?
It’s the magic of repurposing.

Microsoft developed a motion sensing input device for the Xbox 360 video game console called a Kinect.
It enables users to control and interact with the Xbox 360 without the need to touch a game controller using gestures and spoken commands.  But the real magic came from Microsoft’s repurposing of its technology tied to its Xbox console.

Microsoft released a non-commercial and eventually a commercial Kinect software development kit for Windows 7 that allows .NET developers to write Kinecting apps that can be used for non-gaming applications.

Kinect reset the console lifecycle, turning a 6 year old game machine into something that feels brand new again.

So how can you repurpose yourself?

For many job searchers, reINVENTING themselves is difficult because it requires them to radically change their skill sets.
Going back to school or starting a new business is often not an option due to immediate financial considerations.

The solution may be to rePURPOSE yourself.
Take your core talents and explore ways to apply what you know to a different corporate or customer base.

Microsoft did it by expanding their gaming customer base to include software developers who took their core gaming technology and applied it to different applications.

French technologists repurposed Kinect as a gesture recognition system that can read and translate basic sign language. With more development, this could be a system for deaf or hearing-impaired users or a software tool to teach sign language.  Take a look: http://youtu.be/WI80eGO17jc

Are the jobs you’re looking for focused on what you’ve done in the past, or are they related to what you can do for new end-users and/or employers in a more valuable or different way?

A repurposed “job search perspective” may be just the magic (mindset) you need to feel brand new again.

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