Last week's Microsoft Innovate event in Toronto featuring Microsoft principal researcher Bill Buxton proved to be an intriguing affair. The always passionate and engaging Buxton  spoke about the power of innovation in front of more than 100 IT decision makers at the swanky TIFF Lightbox facility (home of the Toronto International Film Festival for those not aware). 

It always amazes me when I speak with customers how misunderstood Microsoft sometimes is as an innovation leader. Innovation always has been a major driver in what we do and Buxton's 45-minute keynote clearly outlined this.  

In the coming months for example, the Momentum Business Insights portal will focus on Microsoft's solution roadmap for online services - namely Office 365 or cloud versions of our most trusted communications and collaboration solutions -- and how on-premise and online applications can successfully co-exist. Be sure to be on the lookout for that.  

Back to the Innovate event. The important takeaway from his speech was the fact that the innovation process is as much a journey as it is a destination. Buxton is known as the father of the multi-touch user interface - 20 years before its use in many of today's popular devices reached critical mass.  

"Success comes through repeated failures. Mistakes are important. If your best people are always succeeding, fire them because they are not pushing their limits yet," said Buxton.  

It's an extremely interesting point. When I think about how many of today's Canadian companies are challenged with optimizing technology, it often comes down to trying to invest in innovation while working to grow the bottom line. It can be a true balancing act. What are your thoughts?

That said, it was a truly enlightening event. The Momentum Business Insights portal will feature a video podcast of the Buxton event in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.