We had a terrific time at last week’s Canadian Leadership Summit in Redmond, WA, where we joined about 200 Canadian IT leaders to discuss current IT innovations, challenges, and how to identify where Microsoft solutions can fit in to the business equation.

Themed “The Rewards of Risk,” this year’s event was jam-packed full of wonderful speakers, and most importantly, a very lively dialogue.

Microsoft Canada President Eric Gales and CIO Steve Heck kicked things off with the Customer Advisory Council – engaging about 30 Microsoft customers. Eric and Steve were given the great opportunity to hear their concerns, which they’ve now brought back to our teams who are integrating that feedback into our work going forward.

Over the course of the two days, all of the discussion was connected by one thread: the idea of risk-taking, and how it has the capacity to enable innovation and spur growth.

We were also delighted to hear from a great number of speakers:

-          Kevin Turner, Microsoft’s Chief Operating Officer,  laid out a vivid strategic roadmap for how customers can incorporate cloud computing into their operations

-          Honourable Gordon Campbell, former Premier of British Columbia, remarked that the status quo and institutional inertia are the two greatest enemies of innovation both in the public and private sector, adding that it is time we start thinking about new models

-          Dr. Andrew McAfee from MIT’s Sloan School of Management and Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, provided his well-informed view on the new digital imperative

-          Andrew Lees, Microsoft’s President of Mobile Communications Business, talked about Microsoft’s strategy around mobility and the impact of the consumerization of IT on organizations of all sizes

And these are just a few of the great talks!

We also had breakout sessions spanning a range of topics including business intelligence, mission-critical applications, systems management in the private cloud, and how to create CIO/CEO synergy.

Overall, it was wonderful to mingle with some of Canada’s top IT professionals. The event really drove home the importance of risk and innovation, sharing how Microsoft solutions can help bridge the gap to create strong, marketable products and services that fuel growth in our partners’ companies.

Until next time!