C2 Montréal (C2) is a multi-award winning and highly produced event which impresses the brain and delights the senses.
From the stimulating interactions to the superbly built rooms / spaces, it positions itself as the most forward-thinking business event in the world although it’s more like a theme-park for corporate folks.
It’s long been on my list to attend and with five others from New Zealand, we got to mix with 7,000+ others for the three days (day one, day two, day three C2 write-ups):
HUGE thanks to C2 for giving a discount ticket price to attract a kiwi delegation which were coming farther than most. Truly helped with making the opportunity accessible.
Also, deep gratitude to the High Commission of Canada in New Zealand who were fantastic supporting partners by:
Thank you Francis.
The Braindate layer facilitates connections between attendees via a simple app interface. Here you can post ideas and areas of work you’re interested in for others to find and then request a 30mins meeting with you. A specific area in the event was created just for this (top right in map below):
Everyone I met was a delight and mostly interested in some public speaking advice.
Lanyards wasn’t just a name-tag but a tool for many things: they light up when a session you have chosen is starting, they can be touched together with someone you met to exchange details (which is then stored in a digital contacts list easy to download afterwards) plus it’s a digital wallet to enable you to pay for things throughout the conference.
The variety of food / refreshments was impressive, being served by either food trucks or offerings built directly into the arena itself. Scanning around it looks like many were local suppliers as well which is a great way to build community.
The couple of interactive sessions I got to experience were superb. From the blindfolded ‘in the dark’ session which highlighted deliciously the challenge of team interaction and communication, through to the ‘breaking down the divide’ visual treat which grouped souls into lighted areas for conversations by answering certain questions on a screen (a more digital version of an exercise I sometimes do in my work with clients, see below):
The showcase interviews with Will.I.Am and Spike Lee were fantastic. Both brought with them a different bank of vocabulary and experience plus both interviewers were great. Other delights was the interview with CEO of Acer plus learning about how Canada are leading the world in legal cannabis policies.
The overall calibre of conversations and general feel of the conference was delightful. It felt relaxed, friendly and ignited curiosity at every turn.
The obvious challenge with events at this scale is access. Attendees could only choose one workshop and lab experience each day (which was booked via the app a week before). Some who were a little late in deciding simply couldn’t get into anything from the conversations I had. And even though there were opportunities to line up to get into sessions you hadn’t booked, from my observations very few got in. More experiences was missed rather than gained from this however I totally appreciate the challenge of serving 7,000+ attendees.
The content of the talks and masterclasses which I did see was ok. The audience for events like this are ‘elite’ and therefore the pitch and tone should reflect in terms of sharing tangible ideas, deliverable insights, applicable models, learned failings etc. or maybe I missed the ones which did.
Was surprised attendees had to pay for all food & drinks via the lanyard (free coffee was supplied by a sponsor I think). Again in conversations with others there was a shared expectation it would be included in the ticket price.
And finally, the Klik app wasn’t integrated neatly with the Braindates (as it opened up in a browser rather than the app itself). This wouldn’t have been such an issue although the wifi there was a little erratic at times. Also, there were no ways to connect to the speakers through the app unlike the delegates. The app was a superb greener solution to a printed agenda although it meant a whole lot of the delegates were either walking or sat with their head down in the tablet glow.
C2 Montréal is a superb experience for those looking to explore a cacophony of offerings in one event. Visually it’s stunning and was definitely highly crafted.
The trip also created an opportunity to connect the Kiwi delegation into the HATCH community at an evening dinner. Lots of conversations and impressive connections followed. A perfect illustration of what the overall trip was all about: creating the space and trusting good humans to add value to each other.