LEARN, NETWORK and let your CREATIVITY SOAR at C2 Montreal

LEARN, NETWORK and let your CREATIVITY SOAR at C2 Montreal

From May 24th to the 26th, 2017, Montreal welcomed over 5000 business innovators, field entrepreneurs and creative visionaries gathered for three incredible days of networking, learning and exploring at contemporary art Space l’Arsenal, right in the heart of one of Montreal’s fastest growing commercial and residential districts: Griffintown.

The large, overhead panels serve as useful direction guides around l’Arsenal’s extensive premises.

Now in its sixth year, C2-Mtl has gained worldwide recognition as being a top tier international business conference on commerce and creativity (www.c2mtl.com).

Curated by design, communications and advertising agency SID LEE and supported by Founding Partner Cirque du Soleil, this annual gathering helps to build connections by encouraging their participants to sign up for master classes, brain dates, workshops, labs and discussion forums in the hopes of finding creative solutions to business problems and challenges.

Possibilities to network are endless at C2 Montreal

Along with my co-reviewer Monica Wong, we were lucky to be invited to attend C2 for our 4th experience. It has been interesting to observe over the years how C2-Mtl has evolved and expanded with the addition of new infrastructures, innovative labs, master classes, activities, partnerships and other electronic based advancements while keeping it’s main mission at its core: to inspire creative solutions for commercial problems.

To name just a few 2017 innovations:

–  Nifty name badges:

Expect to find tasty pulled pork sandwiches and meatball salads at the #lesfillettes foodtruck @C2Montrea

Attendees can now use their badges to sign up for labs and masterclasses, check the speaker schedule and connect instantly with other random participants by exchanging electronic business card information just by pointing and ‘kliking‘. Since C2 operates on a cashless system, the badge also serves as a prepaid card for most food, drinks and souvenirs sold on site site.

– New Partners: The Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel (still under renovation) has announced its up-coming partnership with C2 by dedicating the 21st floor as a re-imagined business meeting space,“Espace C2”  as an innovative hub where individuality is valued and zones designed for playful creativity, and inspiring themed rooms for dynamic business meetings, will be readily available.

– Live streaming:  For those who couldn’t attend the conferences in person, some discussions (minus the key-note speakers) were live streamed from the “Square’s Aquarium”. You can still view most of the activities and highlights of the conference via C2’s Twitter and  Instagram (#C2M17), YouTube and Facebook.

– A Stunning new Temporary Quay :

Perfect location for grabbing a quick bite with a new friend or having an impromptu conversation while boating around the Lachine Canal:

“If you feel weird… it might be because you are an entrepreneur”, says Brad Keywell cofounder of @Groupon & Uptake @C2Mtl 2017 in Montreal !!! You got to listen to your intuition, how you feel inside. Honor your gift of intuition and do what you feel is right . ALSO you need to quiet all the noise from those who try to offer advice , but don’t actually help you on your path.

Monica and I unanimously agreed that the highlights of C2 were the informative discussions and panels from the world-renowned guest speakers – all industry visionaries who epitomize what’s relevant in the current creative and commercial sphere.

Each year, C2 Montreal’s Innovation Village reinvents itself to offer a new stimulating environment. This year was no different with the addition of the new BIG TOP BDC that offered an intimate, 360 degree alternative to the traditional rectangular Forum main stage where this year’s over 20 speakers shared industry advice, life experience and success stories to a captive audience.

I personally love how the Big Top’s floor plan offered an equal viewing opportunity of the conference speakers strategically positioned in the middle of the tent with large, overhead presentations screens that highlighted relevant slides or adjoining pictures offering clarity to the speeches.

“Virtual reality is content driven” Wearing something on our heads ( ex: headset) is not something we like doing, but A.I. voice recognition technology is advancing. It will learn to KNOW you, learn your patterns and needs… Technology can help!” Says @GaryShapiro CEO of Consumer Technology Association @C2Mtl 2017

For 2017, an impressive line – up including Apple’s co-founder Steve Wozniak, Founder and CEO Randi Zuckerberg, Motive Studios Jade Raymond, Mindy Grossman CEO of HSNi / Weight Watchers, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate & Founder of Grameen Bank, Prof. Muhammad Yunus, The Segway’s inventor Dean Kamen and even Montreal’s own OSM Maestro Kent Nagano  brought their expertise to the table.

Overall, C2-Mtl is definitely a great place to meet new people and network in stimulating new environments. For those who love to physically and mentally challenge themselves, we highly recommend participating actively in some of the interactive labs that can open your mind to new ways of finding solutions to problems. All the labs pair you with other conference members and usually puts you in a new experiential environment that promotes quick thinking and opens communication.

Get ready to take your discussions to new heights!

This year’s offering included a lively conversation with a Chatbot, baking a ten layer cake, participating in a virtual reality game, sitting in ceiling high swinging chairs, playing with legos to build an ideal city and trying to solve puzzles in a re-created office escape room!

My advice for future attendees is to book labs early first thing upon arrival, as the spots generally fill up fast and cancellation rates are low.

Strangers have to work close together to solve the mysteries of the escape room lab.

“When good connections are made, there is no better feeling,” says Christine Renaud, founder of E-180, the social business that powers C2 Montréal’s ingenious Brain Dates.

Scheduling Brain Dates will match you up with ideal conversation partners based on your pre-uploaded profile and general queries.

The general idea for successful networking at C2 is to proactively approach others.  This conference based on creativity definitely attracts a cream crop of movers, shakers and field leaders (all engaging thought provocateurs), who have to pay close to $3,000 to attend the three day event.

This year’s closing night party – Illumination Night  was completely sold out and featured interactive art displays, as well as live music from Montreal electrofunk duo Chromeo (performing a DJ set) and eclectic jazz group Jazzamboka among other performers.

For those who wish to attend next year’s conference, C2 Montréal will be presenting its 7th edition on May 23rd, 24th and 25th, 2018 under the theme :

Transformative Collisions – Engineering new connections to re-energize and re-tool leaders.”

Discussion topics and activities on Transformative Collisions will range across five cross-industry tracks: Leadership – Cultivating innovation, Technology – Engines of change, Marketing & media – Stories and truths, Art & design – Making sense of the world and Impact – Multiplying our positive effect.

For more information on the conference and to purchase early bird tickets, please visit: www.c2mtl.com

Thanks to Monica Wong for pictures and co-coverage of the event.