Some might look at the acronym and wonder if it’s a programming language or a long-lost Star Wars character. In reality, it’s shorthand for Commerce & Creativity Montreal, a three-day business convention in the same type of innovative vein as the highly regarded TED and Davos conferences.
Although talk of C2MTL has been relatively quiet in the States, the business, design, and technology communities are watching the event with semi-bated breath. Why? Because insiders are speculating that C2MTL has the stealth power to become something new and completely different from its predecessors.
From May 22-25, more than 1,200 movers and shakers from some 40 countries will attend the event, which is designed to encourage industries to think creatively and foster collaboration. This isn’t a last-minute guerrilla innovation conference. IBM, DreamWorks, Google, and Fast Company are some of the big name attendees. Arianna Huffington, Jonah Lehrer, and Francis Ford Coppola are speakers. Insiders from film, technology, medicine, and media will be descending on Montreal to share their experiences and listen to others. It’s a massive undertaking of an event.
Could the convention be too massive? The scope of thinkers and doers that hail from virtually all walks of life — from the CEO of Cirque du Soleil to an Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery — is daunting. Is there enough common ground to be shared? Or will the audience be too diverse for its own good?
With themeslike “Convincing and Challenging,” “The Eureka! Moment,” and “Model Business Models,” a skeptic might wonder if all this talk is overly vague and fluffy. What good are ideas without implementation? The thing is, those questions are what makes C2MTL so potentially promising. If executed well, cobbling together a vast array of experts from dozens of fields could provide an eye-opening and inspiring experience for presenters and audience members alike. Can medicine benefit from lessons in technology entrepreneurship? Can circus performers inspire designers to think differently?
C2MTL is branding itself as a unique opportunity to explore “the relationship between commerce and creativity” via presentations, exhibitions, a creativity boot camp, team exercises, and more. According to its website, “when the lights go down, participants are invited to recharge their minds and bodies with a host of fun festivities including music, projections, parties and performances.”
The idea sounds intriguing — and, truthfully, like quite a bit of fun. Positive reactions and responses are already flooding out of Montreal and into social media streams, but the real expressions of C2MTL’s potentially lasting impact won’t come until the conference is over, when the aspiring game-changers return to their day jobs and attempt to nobly disrupt to world. Will they succeed? Will C2MTL transform into an event the world watches?
Time will tell. Until then, we’ll wait — with our ears perked up and our eyes open.