Commerce and creativity will once again intersect in a tremendous collision of ideas when more than 5,000 business innovators, entrepreneurs and creatives gather to find creative solutions to business problems at the C2 Montréal conference. Taking place over three days, May 24-26, at remarkable (and immense) contemporary space Arsenal in Montreal’s Griffintown district, C2 will play host to an inspirational array of top thinkers, field leaders and straight-up industry visionaries, and an almost dizzying choice of activities and entertainment. Let the following be your guide for how to “do” C2.
Most definite “dos”
- The first do is one of the biggest: DO MAKE A PLAN. This year, as every year, C2 Montréal’s cup overfloweth with speaker talks (130 last year), masterclasses, workshops, labs, networking sessions, social gatherings, entertainment, art and so many other activities. You don’t want to miss out on anything, so a little preparation beforehand makes for a successful plan of attack.
- Avail yourself of world-class, top-tier speakers sharing their thoughts in C2’s brand-new, state-of-the-art 360 Big Top performance platform. This year features talks by none other than Apple inventor Steve Wozniak, video game icon Jade Raymond, Cirque du Soleil creative brain J-F Bouchard, deep-learning luminary Yoshua Bengio, rad Israeli architect Dror Benshetrit, city-building VR artist Monika Bielskyte, GE marketing genius Linda Boff, resto revolutionary Nicola Farinetti, design powerhouse Karim Rashid, NASA astrophysicist Dr. Michelle Thaller, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal maestro Kent Nagano, media dynamo Randi Zuckerberg and many, many more. Find the full speaker list here.
- Bring your best inner extrovert. Above all, C2 Montréal is a place to meet people – potential business connections and partners in creative crime, yes, but also possibly lifelong friends. It’s something that happens – a lot.
- Participate in the several super fun and creative “labs” that are on offer. The labs give participants a chance to solve challenging questions in an experimental, experiential environment that stimulates thinking (such as being in a giant pit of balls, or while walking through a “rainforest,” or hanging suspended from the air). Last year, there were more than 3,000 lab sessions.
- Use the new smart badges to maximum capacity. No more exchanging business cards, the new identification badges that all C2 participants must wear are technological marvels that allow people to trade contact info at the click of a button, consult the speaker schedule, register for activities, plan agendas and even pay for food, beverages and pretty much everything else on the C2 site.
- Sign up for workshops and masterclasses. These are the meat and potatoes of your C2 experience. Workshops are creative playgrounds for getting your hands dirty troubleshooting solutions to real-world problems. Masterclasses are more intimate, interdisciplinary working groups with the speakers themselves designed to dig deeper into their ideas and transform inspiration into action.
- Go on a date. A braindate, to be exact. Braindates are 30-minute, one-on-one, peer-to-peer meet-ups designed for learning and networking. In a nutshell, if someone views your profile and decides you’re doing something cool that they’d like to know more about, they’ll request a braindate. If you find that they’re interesting as well, you can accept their request. In 2016, more than 2,200 people went on braindates at C2. New this year: group braindates.
- Get out of your comfort zone and participate. Most of C2’s activities are designed to challenge preconceptions, the status quo, your usual way of doing things. Leave the you that you know at the door, and go inside and play.
- Think green thoughts. C2 Montréal is committed to becoming one of the most environmentally responsible large-scale events in the world, and 2016’s edition was officially carbon neutral through initiatives like recycling, composting, zero waste goals and a war on plastic. It got them a Level 2 environmental certification – this year they’re going for Level 3.
- And last, but far from least, put your party pants on. The “Illumination Night” soirée on Friday, May 26, once the final keynote conference is over, will be taking place throughout the C2 village and will feature live music, dancing, interactive art, tasty treats and more good times than you can shake a glow stick at. Famous Montréal electrofunk duo Chromeo (performing a DJ set) are among the headliners.
And one last lonely “don’t”
- Don’t leave just yet. This year C2 has adjusted its dates to run Wednesday through Friday, meaning that leaves a whole weekend post-conference for getting out and exploring Montréal at one of the most beautiful times of the year. And who wouldn’t want to take advantage of that?
- Roll up your sleeves at a hands-on workshop or masterclass
- Walk up and introduce yourself to a stranger
- Immerse yourself in a creative problem-solving lab
- Ask someone interesting out on a braindate
- Do something that you would never normally do at a business conference
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