C2 brings together Commerce and Creativity to explore trends, opportunities, disruptions and major shifts on the horizon. Every year, this is where more than 5000 decision makers and creative minds unite to collectively shape, experience, and challenge the future of business. Miranda van Bruck, Event Designer documented her journey of the 6th edition and team Event Design Collective has mapped out the experience on an #EventCanvas for C2.
C2 Montreal Baseline #EventCanvas by Ruud Janssen
#C2 Commerce + Creativity 24-26 May 2017, 1st time participant experience
Two years after the first discussions the moment was there I am on my way to C2 in Montreal to explore trends, opportunities, disruptions and major shifts on the horizon.
Every year, this is where more than 5.000 decision makers and creative minds unite to collectively shape, experience, and challenge the future of business and I wanted to find out why.
As an event designer myself, my mission at C2 Montreal is to get to understand the mechanics of this highly successful event, to get inspired, learn new skills and to connect to bright people from outside my normal circle and industry. I hope I will get challenged to leave my comfort zone and find answers to current challenges on the way.
Participants at C2 (staged as an enormous festival site) plunge into a new world to explore “ecosystems” and contemplate the complex networks and interconnected systems we are all part of, and embark on an in-depth exploration of the trends and transformations that are having a growing impact on business and on our hyperconnected world. In particular we will be diving into five intertwined networks of content: Talent, Marketing, Entertainment, Cities and Moonshots.
After having gone through an airport type security check, the adventure could start and first on my list was to ensure to get registered for some LABS.
The organizers had succeeded in creating an atmosphere of extreme FoMO (Fear of Missing Out) by having all Workshops and MasterClasses getting fully booked within the first 10 minutes they went on-line last week, so I was one of the first in line to sign up for the labs with a lot of anxious people who all, just like me, had been unsuccessful to snatch up one of the “golden tickets” to get into a master class or workshop.
Feeling very happy and relieved to have been able to register for 3 labs (the very hip Sky lab, the lego serious play type lab and the escape room) I am now on my way to my next exploration moment: The Learning Groups.
Learning groups consists of a group of people committed to meet twice daily, to make meaning of their time at C2 Montreal and to focus on how to activate what we are about to learn here at C2. Facilitated by some very bright facilitators, this actually turned out to be one of the highlights of my event experience.
Now it is time to enter the jungle called C2; The challenge of getting into sessions, finding your way and ensuring this will be a memorable experience and a worthwhile investment of time and resources has begun and it didn’t start well.
I immediately encounter my first set of challenges queuing to get into the 360 Big Top tent that functioned as the Keynote sessions room. After 30 mins in line we were informed that the session was full. After another 20 mins of queuing to try to get into the next keynote session FOMO was at dangerous levels. It was however not all bad, as this morning provided me with my first two major learning moments:
– Making good use of frustrating moments (use line up moments for great conversations and unofficial brain dates with the likes of the Gates foundation).
– Chief Marketing Officers + Keynote = infomercial The Keynote, ended up as a GE session where CMO Linda Hoff carefully orchestrated what in essence was an infomercial, designed to recruit talent to come and work for GE and showcase of GE products.
After that, the roller coaster of high’s and low’s continued while I tried to navigate the C2 jungle and find my way.
I am able to get into several Master Classes and Workshops by starting to queue early in the stand-by lines. I learn from IDEO about designing for the next economic revolution; Circular Design, I expand my skill set by being introduced to rapid prototyping by using techniques from the world of music. I learn about unlocking innovation cultures and how to connect with gut feeling and flow when designing the next big thing. And, I get introduced to IDEAS BOX and a design framework to on design new solutions for refugee crises problems by going on a journey imagining what one needs and can teach in a refugee camp or while being on the move.
I eventually also got into the 360 Big Top tent. Utterly impressed with the audio-visual production with which this former “Peter Pan” Big Top tent is equipped, I emerge myself in some of the talks and walk away with insights on the next trends and meaningful ways to address some of the bigger issues of this world. My path of exploration will however take me less and less into this “one to many” environment and more into the “one to few” or “one to one” experiences.
Now it is time for my first Brain-dates. Finally, I am able to actually try out this powerful networking tool and powerful it was! Forget everything you know about business speed dating or hosted buyer one on one meetings. This truly is a brain date; 2 or more people connecting on a topic of mutual interest which allows you to meet the most interesting people whom you would otherwise have never met. The system and time limit makes it super easy to immediately dive into the topic you posted or reacted to with great conversations, new best practice and a contact for life as a result. Powerful stuff!
And, on to the LABS. After being unable to get into my pre-booked Sky LAB due to a scheduling issue (the famous FoMO levels at dangerous heights again) the C2 team manages to find a solution and a day later I get to enjoy my Moonshot brainstorming moment in the ultra cool sky lab after all. Also part of the LAB experiences is a Lego serious play session in which we build the city of our dreams. Then onto V.R. (Virtual Reality) and A.I. (Augmented reality) in which I am trying to find my way in a dense virtual forest and interact with a BOT. Last but not least I “escape from the office” with my colleague C2 participants in the “escape room”.
My patience gets tested several times along the way, even to a point where I questioned my sanity when I was trying to eat a while standing in line under an umbrella as it was pouring with rain. Persistence got rewarded again however and I was in; again.
Daily check-in’s with my Learning group ensure we all get the most out of our C2 experience. We conclude our official learning group experience by exploring all counterproductive activities and behaviours that would make us completely forget that the C2 experience ever happened. We identified the most important next steps for each individual to start with, once back in our normal lives, to ensure we would actually make space for innovation and get real value from attending C2. Simple, but very powerful.
On the last evening, I walk around the C2 site and feel that the magic has slipped away. C2 now got overrun by hip locals who bought an evening pass to see and be seen at one of the coolest parties in town. This is my cue; it’s time to return to the normal world.
Feeling reenergised, full of inspiration and with a clear plan to put this inspiration into action, I can look back on a very successful C2 experience, where I managed to get inspired, learned new skills and where I connected with bright people from outside my normal circle and industry. I was most definitely out of my comfort zone most of the time, but it lead me to a path filled with valuable contacts and some very clear ideas on solutions for my next Moonshot.