Future Now: Unlocking Innovation in Canada Today


This past March, Microsoft Canada hosted Future Now, a premiere event that brought together more than 900 industry leaders from across Canada to discuss real-world digital transformation. Leading tech expert and media personality Takara Small was on-hand as Microsoft’s official “storyteller” for the day providing a behind the scenes look at Future Now and catching up with some of our speakers for their take on the future of AI innovation in Canada.

The Challenge:

Canadian businesses are starting to realize how digital technologies can optimize their operations and unlock new opportunities for employee productivity and new customer acquisition, but studies show they aren’t moving at a fast-enough pace. In spite of local investments and a proliferation of AI incubators and research centres in places like Toronto, Edmonton and Montreal, Canadian businesses are not taking advantages of the enormous opportunities made possible by AI. A recent study from Gartner found that Canada is a very poor 9 out of 10 when it comes to countries adopting and deploying AI in business applications. On top of this challenge, Canadian employers are facing an enormous skills gap in the digital labour force.

The Opportunity:

This year’s ‘Innovation in Action’ themed event brought together over 40 speakers that included Microsoft customers and partners to discuss how to change this reality. Conversations focused on how to create more skilling opportunities and ultimately how to remove barriers and fast track digital transformation adoption.

Microsoft Canada president Kevin Peesker kicked off the day with an inspiring keynote highlighting Canada’s innovation and encouraging companies to take advantage of digital technologies to not only transform their businesses but also stay relevant in an increasingly competitive landscape. Mitra Azizirad, CVP, AI Marketing and David Carmona, General Manager, Cloud and Enterprise AI at Microsoft shared Microsoft’s vision for AI and commitment to helping business leaders upskill with Microsoft’s recent announcement of AI Business School.

Other notable presenters included Jim Carroll (Futurist, Trends & Innovation Expert), Humza Teherany (Chief Technology and Digital Officer, MLSE) and Doug Stephens, founder of The Retail Prophet. For those who were unable to join, check out the video posted above.

For more information on how Microsoft AI helps transform business click here.

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