Will Livestreaming Replace The Business Conference?


I often come back from a conference with a long to do list. Not so with the Commerce and Creativity Conference (C2-MTL) .  The reason is that it was the experience itself, a difficult-to-describe, immersive creative experience, that was my take-away.  I look at things differently.  I see possibilities that I didn’t see before. Ideas I had for my own work that seem interesting before seem imperative now.

The concept of this conference was not just to talk about creativity and innovation, but to make it happen. Right there.

At the conference, and between presentations, we were immersed  in a creative experience through installation art, impromptu art, and a space designed for collaboration, play and “wow” experiences. We heard people speak about creativity but with one exception, (a stellar presentation that told the story of Bob Dylan’s creative breakthrough) by Jonah Lehrer, they were not speaking about it in a theoretical way.  They were talking about their own extraordinary and different paths to creativity.

One of my take-aways from the event was the growing importance of real life events with innovative forms of entertainment.  Sakchin Bessette spoke about how Moment Factory creates over-the-top experiences like the Super Bowl Half time show featuring Madonna .  He drove home the fact that at a time when individuals spend so much alone time facing a digital screen, congregating in real life to have meaningful experiences with other people is more vital than ever.  That means more opportunity for businesses  that can help their communities gather.

At C2-MTL, there were several opportunities to do just that.  The conference was organized more like a show than a business event.  It was emceed by a professional actress from Montreal and music (including live music) and lighting were key to the feeling of the event.  Featured speakers included some of the most creative entertainers in the world, like Francis Ford Coppola, Ian Shrager (who entertains through the hotel industry), Cirque du Soleil and Arianna Huffington. Between talks, people could wander through interactive exhibits of installation art that were engaging beyond the mere visual observation.

And, performance was part of the event from a stunning and unexpected balancing act by Cirque du Soleil to a music and light show by Moby.

I’ve attended conferences that were livestreamed.  I don’t know how much of this was available or will be available later, but I hope that the powerful presentations were recorded. But, it wouldn’t replace the experience of actually being at the event. In the case of many conferences, the networking alone is a reason to be there.  This was certainly the case with C2-MTL, where I met people who kept the performers at Cirque happy, branded an entire country, changed the way hospitals think about building materials and reimagined retail.  At C2-MTL, it the people you meet between sessions are fascinating, but in the case of C2-MTL, it was the experience itself that mattered most.

Livestreaming may take a bite out of the attendance at some conferences but this one had all the elements in place to make it worth the trip. It left the participants inspired, educated and entertained in a way that only a real life experience can.


19 Lessons in Creativity







3 Responses to Will Livestreaming Replace The Business Conference?
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