Macro Plan

It was a big idea for a small town: to virtually drop thousands of copies of Microsoft Office Accounting Express 2007 from the sky into trees, atop roofs, and onto the streets of Willow Springs, Ill. Then, sit back and watch what happened.

"Big ideas can come from anywhere," says Microsoft spokesman Alexander Dudley from the steps outside the Willow Springs village hall.

Microsoft execs designed this innovative marketing project to inspire residents in the Chicago suburb and beyond to create and enter their best small business concepts in the 2007 IdeaWins contest. Since launching the Microsoft Small Business Accounting software last fall, the company's promotional IdeaWins Ultimate Challenge van tour has made stops in Times Square, Las Vegas, Denver, Chicago, and Atlanta to collect consumer ideas.

The winner will be announced in March 2007 and will receive $100,000, as well as free retail space in New York City for a full year.

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