Reinvention reigns at C2 Montréal 2017
It’s been described as both business- and life-changing, and change is once again a key driver behind C2 Montréal, which six years ago set out to reinvent the business conference and is this year at it yet again. A completely unique new main stage, a new forum specifically dedicated to the challenges and possibilities inherent in artificial intelligence and, of course, a wide-ranging array of inspirational thinkers and visionaries will all be part of the C2 experience in 2017.
C2 Montréal operates at the intersection of commerce and creativity, exploring trends, opportunities and disruptions on the way to finding creative solutions to business problems. Taking place from May 24-26, more than 5,000 business innovators, entrepreneurs and creatives are again expected to gather for what Bizbash magazine called “the #1 most innovative meeting of 2015” and what the Harvard Business Review described as “a conference unlike any other.” Here’s why…
“In” speakers: Innovative, inspirational, intriguing – just some of the “in” words that describe C2’s world-class speakers. This year, some 60 speakers representing an incredible diversity of disciplines will once again come together to show us what they all have in common. How diverse? Doctors, inventors, CEOs, scientists, actors, philanthropists, athletes, artists, chefs, politicians and many other entrepreneurial elites are among the better and lesser known bright lights that have lit up the C2 stage. Past speakers include Sir Richard Branson, James Cameron, Andre Agassi, Martha Stewart, Alec Baldwin, Dr. David Suzuki and Chelsea Clinton, to name a very few. Explore this year’s list of speakers.
C2 HQ: Each year C2 takes place at Arsenal alongside the historic Lachine Canal, an impressive industrial heritage building that’s been transformed into a vast contemporary art gallery and, during C2, an immersive innovation village. Arsenal’s mix of industry and art provides a very a propos setting for the C2 village, which extends onto park land behind Arsenal, affording access to the Canal where attendees can even helm their own boat. Every year, the village is reinvented, and this is especially true this year.
The big news is the new Big Top: C2 Speakers and other guests will be able to take full advantage of a new main conference stage, the 360 Big Top, replacing the Forum (which is being totally reconceived). It’s an actual circus-style big top but with a big difference: it’s a one-of-a-kind, 360°, fully immersive, state-of-the-art performance platform. Originally built for a world-touring theatre production of Peter Pan, the new 360 Big Top seats 1,400 and features full surround sound and video projection perfect for creating multisensory experiences, as well as trap doors and other neat features designed to take speaker presentations to the next next level.
Artificial intelligence gets real at C2: In other big news, this year C2 will be hosting the very first edition of the newly launched AI Forum. From automation to medicine, AI is already starting to have a huge impact across industries and the new AI Forum, which takes place within the context of C2, will provide a deep-diving opportunity to explore solutions to the world’s most pressing issues in an AI-First context. It will include keynote speeches by AI thought leaders, experimental brainstorming sessions and exclusive networking opportunities.
Always digging ever deeper: Workshops, masterclasses and labs are part of the foundation of C2, where ideas start to get put into practice. Workshops are essentially creative playgrounds where participants get their hands dirty troubleshooting solutions to real-world problems. Masterclasses, for their part, see speakers – right after they’ve stepped offstage – delving even more deeply into the ideas they presented in an effort to transform inspiration into action. Labs are where things get freaky and fun, whether it’s in a ball pool, walking through a rain forest or suspended 18 feet off the ground. Each year, C2 devises new, atypical and experimental brainstorming environments designed to propel participants out of their usual frame of reference and towards thinking about challenges and creativity differently.
Perhaps it should be called C3: At C2 Montréal, “C” also stands for “celebration,” and they have year-over-year proven themselves adept at throwing some of the best parties in town, and their closing night “Illumination” party is the stuff of legend. Top-tier artistic performances throughout the three days are also a staple of C2, and have featured the talents of Cirque du Soleil, Moment Factory, LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, Cirque Éloize, Win Butler of Arcade Fire and Moby.
10 (among many) must-see speakers
Steve Wozniak: Co-Founder, Apple Computer & Chief Scientist, Primary Data
A Silicon Valley icon and philanthropist for more than 30 years, Wozniak helped shape the computing industry with the design of Apple’s first line of products, the Apple I and II.
Jade Raymond: VP and Group General Manager, Motive Studios, Visceral Games and Star Wars at Electronic Arts
Raymond is best known for helping create the Assassin’s Creed and Watch Dogs franchises, and for founding Ubisoft’s Toronto studio, which developed blockbuster titles like Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist while under her direction.
Prof. Carlo Ratti: Partner, Carlo Ratti Associati & Director, Senseable City at MIT
An architect, engineer and educator, Prof. Ratti makes urban areas “talk” by harnessing the layers of data enveloping them. A tireless inventor, he designs technologies that make smart cities.
Linda Boff: Chief Marketing Officer, GE
This self-described digital explorer is helping to position GE as the 125-year-old startup that’s spearheading the digital industrial revolution.
Ian Bernstein: Founder and CTO, Sphero
A leader in connected play, Bernstein believes that robots can help us learn, and be our friends. In conjunction with Disney, he built and commercialized a real-world version of the Star Wars BB-8 droid.
Randi Zuckerberg: Founder and CEO, Zuckerberg Media
A multiplatform media entrepreneur and former Facebook exec, Zuckerberg is a leading author, host, producer and the sister of another famous Zuckerberg.
Prof. Yoshua Bengio: Co-Founder, Element AI & Director, Montréal Institute for Learning Algorithms
Preeminent artificial intelligence researcher and deep learning pioneer, Prof. Bengio wants to transform machines into entities capable of scientific reasoning and autonomous learning.
Dr. Michelle Thaller: Deputy Director for Science Communication, NASA Headquarters
An omni-curious astronomer, Dr. Thaller observes the stars to better understand life on Earth. Her research universe encompasses everything from climate change to the evolution of stars.
Monika Bielskyte: Creative Strategist & Founder, ALLFUTUREEVERYTHING
A futurist with an artist’s eye and an inventor’s vision, Bielskyte combines science and imagination to prototype VR models of cities in the future.
Gary Shapiro: President and CEO, Consumer Technology Association
The innovation mastermind at the helm of the CTA (which produces the annual CES trade show), Shapiro’s also one of the most influential technology lobbyists in Washington.