Struggling with ideas for your next conference? Wondering how to break through the clutter and get through to your delegates? You may want to take tips from C2MTL.

C2MTL, or (Commerce and Creativity Montreal) calls itself a business conference “somewhere between genius and insanity”, which has been described by others as a “blend between Burning Man and TED”. It takes place in Canada, and is jointly held by advertising agency Sid Lee and Cirque du Soleil. Started just two years ago, the three day conference is attended by close to 4000 people, many of whom have attended before, and boasts key note speakers such as Abigail Posner, Google’s head of strategy, James Cameron, Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus, Chelsea Clinton and Kevin Spacey. What makes this conference so different though, is less who attends it and more why they attend it. Attendees are encouraged to engage in the so called creative ecosystem by “humanising digital”, participating in “commando networking”, “design thinking “and “crowd sourced consulting”. This manifests in a variety of ways, including getting blindfolded in a pool filled with toy balls, and talking over problems with strangers. Another manifestation is through free confidential consulting courtesy of HEC Montréal business school who talk delegates through a five-step “creative manifesto” approach to problems faced in each respective business. This is broken up by art installations, Cirque du Soleil performers, and live music. It all may sound a little “out there” but the event has been held to great acclaim, and will be spreading to other countries soon due to its popularity. If you’re feeling more inspired for your next conference, be sure to contact Birchwood’s for a hotel conference venue soon!