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What exactly are we celebrating at C2MTL?

What exactly are we celebrating at C2MTL?

Many of us are gearing up to gather in Montreal next week for the third edition of C2MTL, a business conference unlike any other, said to be a cross between Burning Man and TED. Designed to bring Creative and Business minds together, C2MTL’s experience is built around four pillars: inspiration, connection, experimentation and celebration.


Now that I am all fired up by Fed Up, Years of Living Dangerously, Inequality For All and The Naked Brand, how can I make the most of my C2MTL experience next week?


With ocean levels, type 2 diabetes and inequality on the rise, what are we going to celebrate exactly? I am all for a good celebration, but I’d rather be clear about what I am celebrating. As far as I am concerned, two reasons. First, I’ll be celebrating the meeting of old friends and the making of new ones. Second, I’ll be drinking (soda-less Cuba Libre) - see my previous post about Fed Up - to the rising of the frequency: artists please take us to a place of beauty from which our hearts and minds can start to envision a brighter tomorrow. But I will not be celebrating a victory when I see none. Rather, I’ll be “singing in the rain”.


What will I be experimenting with next week? Apparently, Soda drinks are used as pesticides in India (and toilet cleaners for some in Montreal). So, if I may, here is a suggestion for an “off program” experiment: everyday I’ll be pouring soda on the green banks of the Lachine Canal. Again, the more the merrier, please join me. We’ll see what’s left of the green grass by the end of next week…


Done with celebrating and experimenting, let’s connect and inspire, for C2MTL is also a place where real stuff gets done. Last year’s “Giving the boot (camp) to the war on drugs” was a brilliant and bold move by curator Sid Lee to hatch innovative solutions to help Richard Branson muscle up his efforts to end the war on drugs (legalized marijuana being potentially a $100 billion market according to some economists). What’s the surprise from Sid Lee this year? “Giving the boot (camp) to sodas”?


C2MTL is a place for connection and inspiration. There are two ways you can go about this: randomly or deliberately. The random experience is powerful enough, talks are enchanting and C2 is a place for magic encounters. But I wonder if the experience could be more deliberate.


With the question of sugar in mind, I am dreaming of finding myself sitting in a room with: executives from soda and packaged food companies, marketers, advertisers, health experts, filmmakers, economists, politicians, engineers, artists… and we begin a conversation on how to turn the massive collective problem around. Then the inspiration becomes real hard work, the dialogue goes far beyond what is commonly known as “collaborative creativity” and we are forced to tap into the power of “computational intelligence”. Is this easy? No. Can this be done? Yes. Can we solve it all in a week? No. Can we get the work started and follow up on it post conference? Yes.


I’d love C2MTL to become a place where difficult conversations can be held safely. Mind the Gap, a Montreal based organization, showed the way last year by hosting, with courage I might add, a debate between GMO advocates and opponents. Both Greenpeace and Mosanto were at the table. A very good start.


With this in mind, I am looking forward to meeting with you all at C2MTL next week. I’ll be the guy holding an empty bottle of soda. And if there is “you know what” in your Cuba Libre, it’s all good, we can still be friends!


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