Tuesday, May 24th, C2 Montreal opened the doors to the 5th edition of the city’s most-attended professional event. Over 3 days, L’Arsenal de Montreal hosted approximately 5,000 professionals from the world over, with its modern industrial interior transformed by the addition of an extensive indoor garden. This urban jungle played on a theme that would return time and again during the conference: the importance of the environment and sustainable resources.
A return to the world’s most unconventional professional event
C2 Montreal is a conference attended by the whole world – one that reminds us that commerce and creativity go hand in hand. Each and every year, it’s been an event that promises to shift your imagination into overdrive, inspiring you to return to the office Friday morning ready to change how your company does business.
It’s 3 days of intense brainstorming and discussion, surrounded by the crème de la crème of leaders, creatives, influencers, innovators, entrepreneurial stars and bringers of change – all in an environment specially designed to encourage collaboration and new ideas in business world.
The future will be collaborative and creative – or we won’t have one!
The theme of this year’s conference: How can we change the world, using innovation to face up to the challenges of tomorrow?
Environmentalists, economists, anthropologists, innovators, technophiles, directors of multinational firms, marketers, media directors, Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Harvard PhDs, education advocates – the list goes on! Speakers with these credentials and more gathered during C2 Montreal to rise to the challenge of the conference’s theme: how can business help change the environment for the better?
Here’s a small overview of this year’s inspired and inspiring conference attendees:
Mike Yapp, founder of The Zoo, introduced us to the new world of ‘hypertelling,’ and the use of new media and advanced technology like video games and augmented reality to enhance storytelling and create a new kind of narrative experience that’s at once immersive and social.
Simon De Baene, the cofounder and CEO of GSOFT, encouraged us to think of employee wellbeing as a path to fostering interdepartmental collaboration and innovation. By creating a workplace culture that’s just a little bit crazy, we can we can encourage employees to work to their strengths.
Suroosh Alvi, cofounder of Vice Media, told us the history of Vice magazine – once an archetypically irreverent fanzine, now a global leader in the new media landscape. He also took advantage of this opportunity in order to announce the return of a regular edition of the magazine to Montreal, where it first began.
Martha Stewart, the high priestess of good taste, reminded us of the importance of taking care of ourselves and the environment, encouraging an intelligent consumer culture that benefits everybody involved.
Chad Dickerson, CEO of Etsy, gave a talk about the profound human desire to be creative, and that we are all entrepreneurs and artists in our own way.
Patrik Frisk, CEO of the Aldo Group, gave us his personal recipe to success: innovation isn’t just for products – it’s something that has to be ingrained in the very DNA of our business culture.
Wanjira Mathai, director of wPower Hub, supports more than 8,000 clean energy entrepreneurs who are working to provide accessible electricity to more than 3.5 million people in developing nations, cited her mother, Wangari Maathai who in 2004 became the first African to receive the Nobel Peace Prize:
« It is our duty to inspire youth, to give them the courage to become leaders. They are like hummingbirds who, although small, have incredible power thanks to the strength and speed of their wings. Everything that we do today, we must do for their tomorrow.».
And the final word of the conference came from star hockey player PK Subban, a model of authenticity and humility, but also a believer that hard work and persistence rarely goes unrewarded:
« Find what you’re good at, and work hard to be the best possible in that field. But also make sure that you’re the best person you can be: it’s not a question of money, age or social status. What matters is that you do a bit more every day – each of us has the power to move a bit further in the right direction every day ».
The quest of the meeting
But alongside inspiring presentations from these visionary men and women, the most important part of the conference was, and is always is, the opportunity to meet others. Whether it’s for a brain date or collective brainstorming, workshops or master-classes, or even LAB experiences, what’s important is establishing a dialogue.
Don’t be a spectator – Be a participant!
Because at C2 Montreal, anything can happen:
- Work on developing a part for an infinity machine located 3 meters off the ground.
- Work on a future app that will improve the lives of women in developing countries.
- Book a one-on-one brain date in a hammock with a conference speaker who wants to share their expertise.
- Walk arm in arm with a stranger under a pink umbrella during a snowstorm in 25-degree weather.
- Reflect with people from all backgrounds about new forms of communicating across the world.
- Contribute to the future of digital entertainment by creating a production process for an augmented reality game./span>
- Enjoy an exclusive and interactive culinary experience with a renowned chef.
- Answer a nearby ringing telephone, and speak with a complete stranger for 30 minutes.
- Immerse yourself in a bubble of Zen-like calm in the middle of a bustling crowd.
- Share a sandwich on a wooden camping table with the media director of one of the largest and longest-lived media empires in Canada.
Ideas, innovation, audacity, hard work, collaboration, craving, sharing, a dash of madness, and a conclusion that, at this point, is already evident: the future is in our hands.
…And it’s ours to play with!