C2 Montreal 2018 Recap: Success Through Inspiration and Collaboration

Over 7,000 attendees filled the grounds at C2 Montréal this year, eager for three days of learning and engagement to begin. Overall the audience included C-suite and top-level executives, activists and even celebrities; in terms of the kyu Collective, over 30 eager attendees were present, as well as a Hakuhodo contingent who came all the way from Tokyo.

True to kyu’s spirit of collaboration, we were thrilled to see so many member companies present at C2’s flagship event – both as engaging presenters and active participants. Learn about some of the informative and fruitful sessions led by kyu members below.

Sara Kalick and Marc Winter of SYPartners kicked off day one with their interactive session, “Lead with Humanity: Seeing and Activating the Best in Others.” During the 90 minute session, individuals from various industries focused on how to bring their “best selves” to work, and also how to recognize aspects about themselves or their teams that may create obstacles.

Designed as a collaborative workshop, it hit the right balance between personal reflection and group discussion. Through a guided workbook, attendees identified moments where they felt most accomplished at work, and also recognized times when they fell short of their personal expectations. Then, in smaller groups, participants shared their respective challenges, and helped brainstorm advice for their colleagues. SYP also provided brilliant exercise cards that included tips and tactics on how to tackle the variety of challenges identified. By the end, participants were actively sharing their own stories to the larger group – which is not inconsiderable given that 150 attendees were present.

Sid Lee closed out day one with “Create What Matters.” Led by Philippe Meunier, Sid Lee’s Chief Creative Officer, this talk under the Big Top focused on the importance of tearing down traditionally assumed boundaries and obstacles. Entertaining the audience with everything from quirky costume changes to a balloon toss, Meunier dynamically inspired attendees to rethink collaboration across seemingly-unrelated focus areas. Attendees left with a newfound understanding of the necessity of working together from diverse backgrounds in order to spark inspiration and expand the potential of their work and impact.

On day two, kyu attendees were lucky to have a private Q&A session in the kyu balcony with BEworks co-founders Kelly Peters and Dan Ariely. Discussing everything from casinos to recidivism, the two leading behavioral economics experts captivated the crowd of over 40 people. Afterwards, a lively happy hour gave members the chance to pick Kelly and Dan’s brains and learn more in one-on-one discussions while overlooking the Plaza.

IDEO U’s Suzanne Gibbs Howard and Dawn Riordan finished day two with “Initiating Change with Design Thinking.” The masterclass was jam-packed with an impressive turnout, which led to a diverse exchanging of ideas. With a thought-provoking presentation, Dawn and Suzanne enlightened the audience to the achievability of becoming an agent of change in their communities. Both presenters stressed the importance of not underestimating one’s own capacity to spark change – such as by simply starting small and identifying hardworking and supportive allies. Striking a perfect balance between learning and collaboration, Dawn and Suzanne then turned the lecture-style environment into a space for collaboration: attendees worked with those around them to share challenging experiences and workshop solutions.

Starting bright and early on day three, BEworks and Sid Lee led their collaborative workshop “Worlds Collide: When Science Meets Creativity” that highlighted the importance of scientific methodology in the creative process. Drawing upon their Toronto roots, the organizations asked participants to work in groups to identify a way to encourage public transportation users to more reliably pay fare. In Toronto, the presenters explained, there has been an influx in individuals opting to not pay their fare for public transport. Working together in teams, attendees bridged language barriers to strategize solutions to the issue. Utilizing behavioral economics tactics such as incentivizing, participants then presented their ideas to the room for feedback and discussion. The session inspired attendees to utilize behavioral economics in their design work when problem-solving in the future.

 “Challenge Your Generational Biases,” an executive roundtable hosted by RedPeak, asked participants to come together to create innovative ways for brands and consumers to connect across generations. Led by Susan Cantor, CEO of RedPeak and Madeleine Kronovet, Leader of the RedPeak Youth Practice, participants shared and discussed information about Gen Z, America’s youngest and least understood generation, and how they diverge from Millennials. The discussion focused on how brands can successfully entice consumers at every age, while also highlighting stereotypes about each generation that may limit creative pathways to engagement.

In particular, RedPeak and C2 ensured generational diversity among their attendees, working hard to bring individuals ranging from high-level C-Suite to Gen-Zers. Excited by the turnout and exchange of ideas, Madeline said, “the conversation was lively. We had all age ranges in the room—from 60+ to a superstar Gen Zer—enabling everyone to truly challenge their generational biases. Through dialogue and insights, participants walked out with a new perspective, changed from when they entered just an hour earlier.”

BEworks co-founder and leading behavioral economics expert Dan Ariely concluded C2 with his masterclass, “How Rational Are You….Really.” Aiming to explain and change the simplistic understanding that most people have about what drives human behavior, Ariely had the audience second-guessing their fundamental assumptions about human nature and logical reasoning. With Ariely’s insights, attendees were able to more deeply understand human motivation, and leverage that knowledge to become a more successful leader.

C2 Montreal concluded the conference with a festive evening enjoyed by all: attendees and presenters from the conference mingled as C2 Speaker Snoop Dogg DJed the closeout. The inspiring and informative three days were fruitful for everyone. Hakuhodo’s Masaki Maruyama said that C2 “allowed me to experience how kyu’s networks are wide spread in various fields and are creating a positive impact on our lives.” It was motivating to see so many member companies come together to make the weekend a success. C2’s hard work really showed, and we cannot wait for C2 Montreal 2019!