From Reinvention to Resilience

C2 Montreal, Canada’s largest creativity and business festival and one of the most important in the world, inspires disruptions in a virtual version

By Estela Cangerana

The world has changed, as well as your company. Difficult times call for creative solutions. Based on this thought, the organizers of C2 Montreal, Canada’s most important business and creativity festival and one of the most expressive in the world, presented an unprecedented virtual edition of the event, which brought a new way to connect and inspire. For two weeks, from October 19 to 30, this was exactly what was seen: how innovation and creativity can generate transformative businesses, capable of overcoming any challenge.

Known worldwide for stimulating its participants to think and interact outside the conventional, the reinvention proposed in this version of C2 had Resilience as its central theme. Everything online, but no less personal. This, in fact, was one of the greatest lessons of the festival: to prove that it is possible to take an event that strives for the connection face-to-face between characters from different worlds for mutual learning thousands of kilometers away. Creativity, once again, made the C2 business a successful enterprise.

The immersive platform developed for the festival allowed each participant to personalize their experience, following programming trails based on their interests, based on five main axes: accelerating innovation, exploring the new normal, reimagining the experiential economy, reconnecting with its community and correcting power imbalances.

Hours of live content, problem solving workshops, masterclasses with specialists and spaces for interaction with other participants were made available for each of these axes, to be explored at any time, through a streaming on demand system. The program also included artistic and musical performances at Sunset Sessions, and gastronomic experiences at Culinary Challenges.

Another striking feature of the face-to-face edition of C2, that brings guests who are protagonists of the global disruptive discussions, was also present in the online event. Among the thinkers who shared their reflections with the public was the activist co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, Patrisse Cullors, who drew attention to the need for an honest conversation about racial justice. “Stop using the words diversity and inclusion. Challenge yourself to start thinking about a workplace that is anti-racist”, she reinforced, encouraging everyone to really engage, so that change happens.

The importance of each person’s action was also the keynote of the conversation with the actress and activist Jane Fonda, who spoke with passion about initiatives in the environmental area. “The climate crisis is the great existential shadow that hangs over us all. We are beginning to witness the unfolding of planetary life,” she said. “If you’re ignorant, that’s not a good thing, but you just don’t know. But if, after knowing, you walk away, it will be part of the problem”, she added.

In addition to her, other guests invited to share their experiences with the audience were actress and activist Jameela Jamil, Canadian-British author Malcolm Gladwell, gamer and female leader Stéphanie “missharvey” Harvey, actress and businesswoman Gwyneth Paltrow and entrepreneurship guru Gary Vaynerchuk.


And why not finding your “soul mate in business” virtually? The Braindate platform, which aims to connect people based on common interests in face-to-face C2, also took place in the online version. The technology allowed participants to share their ideas and knowledge with each other, individually or in groups, either by including their own topics, or by interacting from a topic posted by someone else.

There were virtual meetings and exchanges of views between executives and professionals from more than 60 countries, including Brazil.

The Quebec Office in São Paulo organized a virtual commercial mission parallel to the event, connecting Brazilian and Quebec companies in the creative industries sector, with very positive results.

The CCBC, which is one of the main supporters of the event in Brazil, was responsible for the participation of a group of companies in the country for the third consecutive edition. “C2 is always a great opportunity to make connections and experience constructive experiences, expanding the business horizon. A striking feature of face-to-face events in Montreal is the ability to surprise participants. After the pandemic is over, our expectation will be with what the organization will reserve for us in 2021”, stated the Institutional Relations director of the Chamber, Paulo de Castro Reis.

The CEO of the Empathy Company and Relationship Director of the Brazilian Association of Design Companies (Abedesign), Gabriel Lopes highlights: “I am still experiencing the recorded content (from the virtual edition), which is extremely relevant. But those who participated only in the digital version still need to live C2 in Montreal”.

The next face-to-face edition of C2 Montreal, scheduled for 2021, will once again feature a Brazilian mission led by CCBC. For further information please contact [email protected]