Last week, I attended the C2 Annual Conference that brought over 7,000 attendees from 60 countries to the beautiful city of Montreal. From everything I had read and inquired about this conference, I was settling in for a week of exploring the creative intersections of commerce, science, technology, society and sustainability. The whole purpose of C2 is to allow leaders to invent the future of business, while looking at all areas of society and using creativity as an engine for change. The theme of the show was appropriately named “Tomorrow”.
I left the C2 conference inspired, informed and mentally refreshed. There was a ton of great content and conversation throughout the week, but my top three highlights included the following:
Future of Technology – how technology shapes our future in both commercial and societal applications There were a variety of sessions that covered how technology was shaping our futures and addressing multiple concerns from climate change to overpopulation. A few that caught my interest were:
- Applied AR/VR – this session showcased how we can wield the power of AR/VR for both commercial applications (mobile storefronts) and societal improvement (future of work spaces). It further showcased the future entrepreneurs that are pushing the envelope, such as the presenter Sabarish Gnanamoorthy, a 15 year old from Toronto that is passionate about AR & VR.
- Understanding the Data about Yourself – this session showcased how experimenting with your own data yields some fascinating and unexpected results. The workshop explored how using a gaming approach to reveal customer preferences results in experiences that people feel grateful for.
Experience and the Art of Collaboration – how collaborative sessions lead to fruitful outcomes.
The experience part of the conference really allowed me to get involved and expand my mind around how to work with storytelling, adaptations and building experiences that win. The panel conversation with Bertrand Cesvet (Sid Lee), Ian Daly (Live Nation), Bekah Sirrine (Instagram) and Nicole Jacek (Wieden + Kennedy) was insightful in how companies are leveraging new types of collaborations in an agency environment.
In addition, there were multiple work sessions where I walked away with techniques and approaches on future client working sessions to evoke creativity and involvement which will help drive us to a better outcome.
Immersive Experience at a Conference – an experience like none other I have been to a lot of conferences in my professional career but this was my first time attending C2. Just stating that it is not like a regular conference is an understatement. From the time you walk on to the grounds of Grandé Studios, you are immersed into the C2 experience. Even the venue is not your regular conference fare with conference centers attached to hotels.
Another major difference was that there was not a single Power Point presentation that was done in any of the sessions I attended. Instead, the sessions revolved around conversations, panels and workshops where you had a chance to meet other like-minded professionals and exchange ideas. This infused a sense of both involvement and immersion into the experience.
In conclusion, as a first time C2 attendee, I was both inspired and mentally refreshed by the aspiration and humanity that covered this event. We have a lot of challenges facing us on societal and environmental fronts, and it was very inspiring to see how we can come together and create solutions to help further not only the commercial cause but also humanity.