Why Muskoka is a great place for CIOs to talk about the future of work


We don’t often make room for spouses at ITWC events, but our annual CIO Innovation Summit is an exception. In fact, in my opening remarks, I told the guests, “We felt it was really important that you see first-hand just how difficult and gruelling these ‘business trips’ can be.”

I was speaking in a banquet hall at the J.W. Marriott Rosseau, next to a pair of glass doors that opened up into a lush early-Autumn evening. Everybody laughed.

I went on to say that, unfortunately, although we may not always know exactly what the future of work will look like, we know it probably won’t look a lot like the J.W. Marriott Rosseau. Then again, why not? The one thing our guests and keynote speakers agreed on is that the current way of structuring business environments isn’t going to cut it. If it was, we wouldn’t have phases like “cubicle hell” or refer to being “meetinged” to death.

A spa like the J.W. Marriott has all the lovely extras you might like in a vacation, but in some respects they’re not that far removed from what a new hire at a Silicon Valley startup might have come to expect. The biggest difference was the atmosphere in Muskoka itself. With the kind of sunshine and fiery colours of the turning leaves all around us, it offered that rare time when executives could stop, stand back, walk around and reflect on what they’re doing, what they want to accomplish and to close the gap between the two.

This video helps capture the feedback from a few of our guests, and offers an inside look into how the day unfolded. It probably goes without saying that it would not have been possible without Rogers, and that the CIOs in attendance were beyond grateful. Of course, the CIO Innovation Summit only happens once a year, while IT leadership has to happen day in and day out. Here’s hoping that some of the ideas, best practices and most importantly the relationships that were formed at our event can continue to develop throughout the winter months. In order to create the breathing space for innovating about the future of work and other challenges, “Muskoka” may have to become more of a state of mind.


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