If you live by Montreal’s Canal Lachine – you probably noticed a huge dock being built in the Griffintown area. Well, that mysterious installment was created for this year’s C2 Montreal. What is C2? It is a three-day 3 event (in 2017 from Wednesday, May 24th to Friday, May 26th) that mixes the topics of creativity and commerce entirely masterminded in Montreal. Just another reason to be proud of our city. It was founded in 2010 and this year’s theme was Ecosystems. The question everyone wants to know is what it is like to experience this immersive gathering?
Let’s break it down for you. During your three days – you will be completely overwhelmed with the options you have. First off, continuous world-class speeches are happening throughout the day that is open to everyone as long as there is space in the room! This year they created a “360 big top” that had incredible changing visual on the “ceiling” that submerged you into a topic, person or feeling that they were pushing on you. This was definitely a unique approach to conferencing. If you weren’t able to get a seat or were less interested in the topic at hand – you could also visit the “Cabaret” room which also had speakers on site. Generally, the talks here were in a slightly less orderly context but also varied in themes. I enjoyed the ability to change rooms and have options concerning conferences since of course, the nature of the subjects could be more or less compelling to each person.
Dror is an artist extraordinaire who explained to us his five principles:
- Passion for meaningful connections.
- Comprehensive approach: Don’t Limit creativity to specialty
- Collaborate to innovate
- Invest in experiments; Lead with questions
- Change perspective
Each one combined with detailed explanations of his work successes was truly inspiring. He spoke about his peacock chair that was inspired by the bird who uses his crown of feathers to “attract and love” the female or to “defend and scare away.” The chair was conceived to do both just like in nature. Another project he discussed was how he imagined real estate to make each house feel like it had no neighbors and therefore, peaceful and isolated. In reality, they were all surrounded by each other who had similar concept homes. He explained how his innovative approach became a huge success based on these simple ideas. Unquestionably, he is doing outstanding jobs!
Founders of Studio Felix and Paul particularly inspired me because they are two young men from Montreal who expanded their concept successfully and quickly with their unique vision of virtual reality. They talked about how they decided to leave their past jobs, how the pair works together and finally, where they see analog reality and virtual reality going collectively. It was a captivating and moving dialogue.
So much talent is present here in Montreal, we are lucky to have all this creative innovation around us. C2 showcases this but also incorporates international talent. Additional noteworthy guests were executives from companies such as Eataly, Enactus, A&E and Buzzfeed. Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple was also present and told the crowd that Happiness = Smiles – Frowns.
If you felt like interacting with new people, C2 was just the place for you. You had the opportunity to meet, network and even learn from new people during the three days. Labs, workshops, masterclasses and braindates were all different ways of doing so. There were 7 labs you could try which all had a different concept. You received a small pin to reward you when completing a lab and of course, wore proudly on yourself afterward. I had the chance to try three; Sky, Chatbot, and Cubicle. Each lab had the objective to teach you something different.
Chatbot was a chat system propelled by AI (artificial intelligence) that you interacted with. Our group of three chatted with the chatbot, and she/he told us what to do. For example, it asked us to go for a walk, take a selfie, answer certain questions, etc. It was a beautiful adventure that gave us a chance learn more about AI and interact with new people. AI was a hot topic overall, being discussed in other aspects of C2.
The Cubicle lab was all about collaboration. We were two teams with the same task which had to finish our mission together half way through the game. It felt a lot like an escape room if you have tried that before. It was definitely entertaining, and our team succeeded! They took a picture of us, and we were all very proud to have figured it out.
Finally, Sky was the most intriguing lab. Fifteen chairs (three groups of five) are elevated by strings fifteen feet into the air during the lab. During your time in the “air,” the assigned handler proposed a problem that your team had to discuss. The goal was to show that creativity can be embellished during circumstances that are not so familiar. It was definitely a unique experience that brought out different perspectives and ideas. It made us feel like there were less “boundaries” in the proposed solutions.
There was also Cake lab that was all about creating a layer of real cake that was later served to all of the attendees. For three days, the delicious treat got bigger and bigger, and on the last day, I witnessed the cutting of it which was indeed, quite a wonder to see! Another nice visual aspect inside the Arsenal building (where the event was being held) was the “aquarium.” It was placed in the middle of the room. There, you can see and listen to personages getting interviewed and streamed live. There was always something going on in that aquarium!
Masterclasses and Workshops were topic driven and conducted in sometimes bigger groups. There were also special guests that were leading some of these. Braindates, on the other hand, were a chance for attendees to plan a meeting about a certain topic they are interested in. All the dates were 30 minutes, and it gave people an opportunity to see who else was attending and figure out who could be of interest to them as well. You can have a braindate with one person or a group of individuals. Everything was done online so you could easily plan them, even a few days before C2 started!. The company E180 is responsible for organizing this. They perform this type of activity in other events/corporations as well. What an exceptional and innovative way to network!
On the last day of the gathering, they held Illumination night. From 6:30 PM to 3 AM, the place turned into a big party where performances, DJs, and other surprises happened. It was a great evening of fun and networking with the new people you just met. During the three-day experience, performances from Maestro Nagano and Do Mi were notable.
On day 2, they announced the first international C2 being held in Melbourne in November 2017. This was exciting news! The concept of C2 is genuinely a unique, innovate and interesting approach to business interchanges. It uses creativity in every aspect of the experience and forces you to adapt to each and every activity you complete during the convention.
Every day was exhausting because of all the mental processing of fresh ideas and new people you meet, but of course, it is entirely worth it. Your brain will thank you. What you do with your time there is up to you, but the possibilities are endless. You can focus on networking as much as you can let yourself be pushed to new limits with brand-new ideas.
C2 will amaze you one way or another and hopefully shed new light and opportunities on what you already work on. For more information about C2, visit their website here.