Report from C2MTL 2016: At the Intersection of Commerce and Creativity is Collaboration

Banfield’s Digital Director, Kelly Rusk, attended the C2MTL conference as part of the first-ever C2 Social Squad.

As a multi-tasking addict (I know…), I rarely allow myself to be fully present at a conference. I’m always checking email or Facebook, getting a bit of work done, chatting with my friends and doing whatever else strikes me in the moment during a presentation. But knowing that C2MTL is an incredible, immersive experience—and being tasked with live tweeting from the main speaker forum—I fought the urge, turned on my out-of-office notification and listened attentively for three days.

It was a resounding success! I laughed. I cried. I was inspired. I enjoyed every minute of it. Now with a month of procrastinating reflecting on the experience, I summarized a few key themes and insights that have stuck with me since C2.

The best ideas start as crazy ideas

This resonated with me because Banfield is very much in the business of idea generation. Clients come to us looking for innovation and ingenuity but, naturally, many of our (potentially great) ideas get turned down early on because they may be riskier or more out there than a client is comfortable with. And I’m certainly not blaming clients here—often it’s our own internal self-editing that rule these decisions.

JaC2-JakeBartonLocal Project spoke about how if you have a really great idea, and do your homework to understand if it’s viable, then you must fight resistance and push through to make others see your point of view. He explained that success comes from those who put in the time and effort, and commit to following an idea through despite resistance.

“Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration,” Barton said. “Accordingly, a genius is often a talented person who has done all of his or her homework”

Stories are the universal language that connects us

As much as this sounds like a cliché in marketing, this message shone through on its own and because, after so many presentations, it was apparent the most powerful and memorable speakers connected through the interesting and vivid stories they told.

Lakshmi Pratury, CEO of INK, who calls herself a collector of people’s stories, led her presentation with such a story. She spoke of a woman who couldn’t stand her neighbours. Everyday, this woman would look out the window and see dirty laundry hanging in their yard. She would obsessively complained to her husband about them: “Why would they hang up dirty laundry? What purpose could it serve?” One day, she awoke and looked out the window, and the dirty laundry had finally been removed and replaced with clean laundry hanging on the line. She was ecstatic and found her husband to ask him if he had finally gone next door and asked them to do something about it. “No,” he said, “I just cleaned the windows”

A great story strikes you with its insight. And you realize that those who are changing the world usually have an interesting story that ignited their passion and drive.

The future is f#4%ing cool!C2-Robot-Yoga

Robots. Virtual reality. Self-driving cars. Artificial intelligence. Augmented reality. We hear about these things frequently in media. But sitting in a room with leaders who are innovating in these spaces and are actively turning what seem like crazy sci-fi ideas into real-world solutions to big problems was very cool. Add in some adorable Cirque robots doing yoga and it was the perfect mix of amusement and awe-inspiring.

One example came from Mike Yapp, Head of the Zoo at Google. He shared a chills-inducing video that demonstrates virtual reality implemented on a school bus to teach children about the surface on Mars.

Can you imagine a future where children learn directly through virtual experiences?

#TheMany: the conference theme championed collaboration

The overall theme this year at C2 was #TheMany, which was interpreted in many different ways—but always revolving around the idea of collaboration. As one of Banfield’s core values and one of our strengths as an agency, hearing so many intelligent global leaders praise the importance of collaboration was both validating and inspiring.

C2-Michel_Laprise-e1467228231974Creative Director for Cirque de Soleil, related the importance of facilitating and emphasizing collaboration in the creative development process. He illustrated this so well by explaining that every Cirque show starts with a round table where ideas and creativity are allowed from everyone at the table regardless of position or status. “At a round table, everyone is at equal distance and the energy flows freely,” he explained.

Laprise’s talk was so powerful and inspiring, I don’t think I can really do it justice in a blog post. But you can hear his thoughts on collaboration in this interview from C2:

While I came away from the experience refreshed and inspired it also left me feeling a little down. Hearing from these motivational world changers made me feel like there is so much more I could be doing with my life. I guess I need to get better at multitasking if I’m ever going to get it done…

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