Satya Nadella wants to 'reinvent productivity', hails startups and STEM education

It's all about experiences, man

In what was something of a vague, corporate-focused keynote address, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella used his first UK appearance to talk about concepts such as the "reinvention of productivity", the importance of startups to economies and why STEM is a vital investment for societies.

Speaking at a Microsoft event in London, Nadella hailed the UK's "very advanced" position in cloud computing adoption and spoke of Microsoft's desire to build "digital life and work experiences", pointing to Azure and Office 365 as examples of "transformative products".

He said: "One aspect of Microsoft, which I think is unique, is how we approach our work, which is a platform approach. Take something like our own participation in the UK where we have created a lot of opportunity for local retail partners and indie software vendors. That has come about because we harmonise the interests of users, IT and developers.

"It's fair to say that, as a single word, productivity doesn't have emotional appeal. But look behind what it is that one needs to do to create a productive life - it's about freedom and the software tools and devices one is using. The ultimate goal is all about empowering every individual and organisation to do more and achieve more."

Start me up

Microsoft's CEO also referred to startups as the "lifeblood of any economy", and said that they are in a better position than ever before due to the rise of cloud computing and "ubiquity of infrastructure and devices". He pointed to Microsoft Accelerator and Microsoft Ventures as two areas where the software and services giant is aiming to drive entrepreneurship.

Nadella also praised the UK's decision to teach STEM subjects from a young age and said that is a need to democratise access to education.

He said: "Technology is for empowering people, and if you look at the younger generation of entrepreneurs, all the way back, one of the most important investments any society can make is in STEM education.

"In the UK computer science is now taught from ages five to fifteen. As more human capital is expressed through digital tools, I think that becomes important for inclusiveness.

"It can't be something only the elites do, so it's very important to have an enlightened policy that makes access to education like computer science available everywhere to create opportunity."