We are just back from PBLN’s 4th Annual CEO Forum in the US Capitol. 115 CEOs, executives, entrepreneurs and investors landed on what many in business describe as “another planet.” Already reports are coming in from participants about the possibility of innovation in a place where you would not expect anything to grow.

Virginia Senator Mark Warner (D) at 2011 PBLN Summit in the US Senate

Venture Capitalist, author and PBLN Co-Chair Jeff Bussgang blogs about the highlights, paraphrasing Virginia Senator Mark Warner (also co-Founder of telecom company Nextel) concluding that “We have only a few months left to achieve a long-term deficit reduction plan and making progress on pro-innovaton policies over the next few months before election fever strikes. ¬†Everyone needs to stay engaged in what happens next.”

The group of 115 at the Summit represented businesses headquartered in 9 states and doing work nationwide and globally. Top leaders from public companies (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Vertex, Panera Bread, Zipcar) were present as well as true start-ups (Evertrue, Natasha’s Court) and uber-network leaders (John Harthorne of MassChallenge, Tim Rowe of the Cambridge Innovation Center, Technet co-Founder Rey Ramsey and Technet New England Director Michelle Consalvo). Innovation drivers in healthcare (Steward Healthcare System), energy, (National Grid), real estate (Boston Capital) and education (Eduventures) brought tremendous depth as well.

Hosted by Bob Crowe and Nelson Mullins, our encampment was “steps from the US Capitol” and we launched our participants into 37 meetings with top-tier government leaders all within a 24 hour window, about 2 of which the PBLN staff spent sleeping.

We will debrief the experience in this space over the days ahead. In many ways, Washington is every bit the “dysfunction junction” that you hear about. But there are many who desperately seek allies to come at the process in a new way – to exercise 21st century pragmatic, long-term, sustainable business leadership – otherwise known as innovation. Lots more detail and photos to follow.

PBLN Members in the U.S. Senate