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C2-MTLFrom May 21st to the 23rd, Montreal hosted C2-MTL, an annual gathering of some of the best innovative and influential minds, stemming from a broad spectrum of industries and countries.
From May 21st to the 23rd, Montreal hosted C2-MTL, an annual gathering of some of the best innovative and influential minds, stemming from a broad spectrum of industries and countries.
C2-MTL, now in its second year, has rapidly become one of the largest global conferences on commerce and creativity (www.c2mtl.com). The conference took place at l’Arsenal, at the heart of one of Montreal’s fastest growing commercial and residential districts; Griffintown.
Curated by design, communications and advertizing agency SID LEE, the conference helped to build connecting bridges between participants over three days. Over 1500 participants were encouraged to pool their knowledge, put their minds together and find creative answers to existing and emerging commercial questions and concerns.
This year, C2-Mtl’s focus was on welcoming several internationally renowned keynote speakers such as French architect and designer Philippe Starck, Former Chief of Design for BMW, Chris Bangle, founder & CCO Bobbi Brown and as closing guest speaker, Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson. All speakers shared their industry advice and life experience with the help of catchy and large scale multimedia presentations.
Some of the valuable advice I retained include:
Chris Bangle’s statement on the future of design: "The fox is pretty because the fox has a pretty tail". In other words, we generate things which are beautiful by making the process of creation beautiful for everyone involved.
Fred Dust, designer at IDEO explained the essence of creative thinking in three steps 1) Really Look + Listen to understand the world we live in. 2) Spend Time observing first hand 3) Build Empathy and Love for the people you are designing for. The most important practice is to Hope and be Optimistic.
Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS shoes recommends: 1) Cut advertizing by getting your customers to be your best advocates, 2) Surround yourself with the best staff and talent and 3) Make valuable partners and contacts.
Philippe Starck, world-renowned architect and designer, suggests democratizing design and advocates the de-materialization of society. Some of his latest projects include "invisible" chairs and ecology friendly furniture and appliances that will embrace the post- plastic era he predicts is coming in 2020-22.
Diane von Furstenberg, fashion icon and inventor of the classic "wrap-dress" shared her life story and really passed the message that you have to live your life and dreams with strong passion and stand for what you believe in. She encourages young women to feel empowered and be independent. Her brand celebrates freedom and "sexy-on-the-go ! ".
Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, encouraged youths of today to not only dream but dream Big: " I’ve dreamed a lot throughout my life, and I’ve tried to make those dreams come true". His latest venture, Virgin Galactic, a cutting edge space exploration program, plans to launch its first flight this December. Mr. Branson counts to be among the first passengers on board along with his friend Stephen Hawking !
Leaning away from the more traditional business conference models, C2-Mtl encouraged a fully engaging experience for all the senses while projecting an image and culture that fueled cool creativity.
The numerous art and cultural partners included L’ Opéra de Montréal who opened the conference with a unique solo performance that blended in social media with singing.
Cirque du Soleil , in collaboration with fashion keynote speaker Diane von Furstenberg, performed a spellbinding original creation entitled “The Spark” that followed a man’s self discovery.
The Montreal International Jazz Festival contributed to the fun by introducing Musique Risquée featuring well-known Montreal DJ’s Vincent Lemieux and Akufen.
Le Festival TransAmérique presented choreographer Ginette Laurin and her new Arab Spring-inspired modern dance work Khaos.
Montreal has gained a solid reputation as being the night life capital of North America. C2-Mtl recognized this status and welcomed three of Montreal’s avant-garde music festivals – M for Montreal, Osheaga and Igloofest to sponsor live entertainment to keep their participants dancing and entertained until the wee hours of the morning.
C2-MTL’s closing night at the onsite Intel Forum was quite memorable, thanks to a flashy fashion show featuring twelve of the city’s top designers ( Denis Gagnon, Anastasia Lomonova, Ying Gao to name a few) as well as performances by indie-folk-rock Half Moon Run, top billed turntablist Kid Koala and globally acclaimed electro/techno dance DJ Tiga.
I personally found the conference to be a wonderful opportunity for all entrepreneurs and aspiring young minds to network, interact and listen to some of the best leaders in the field give precious advice. The conference really lived up to its promise to deliver interesting workshops, activities, international conferences and interactive experiences that challenged both the left brain as much as the right.
For those seeking to attend next year's edition. C2-Mtl has proudly announced that legendary Director James Cameron will be present as a key-note speaker in 2014.
For more information please consult: