Expect the unexpected is the mantra for C2 Melbourne when it launches here in October, marking the first time the innovative business event is held outside of Montreal. Martin Enault, chief operating officer at C2 International, says he wants participants to walk away from the event having changed their mindset in a positive way “that propels their business forward”.
Enault joined C2 after the second edition, but says the original vision by founders Cirque du Soleil and Sid Lee in 2011 was to reinvent the business conference as they had done with the circus 25 years ago.
“They also felt there had to be a better way of producing events and engaging executives to show that the future is actually positive, and market disruption is not a bad thing. All of that together became C2 which stands for commerce and creativity,” he says.
Enault has happily swapped his hometown of Montreal for Melbourne as he helps set up the three day event in October that looks to face disruption head on.
“Montreal and Melbourne are very alike as cities in many ways, you have the same kind of vibe in the city, which is why we feel comfortable here,” he says. “But Australians and people in the Asia Pacific are very different in that they are more positive about the world evolving than North America. Australia wasn’t affected by the global recession as much as the rest of world and didn’t face the same level of market disruption, and so it is bolder in some ways and yet more conservative in others, and that duality is very interesting.”
Disruption is often viewed in a negative light, but for Enault it has a positive side.
“We don’t want to unsettle people just for the sake it, we are doing it as it helps them see a problem from a different perspective,” he says. “I don’t think we live in a world of constant disruption, we live in a world that we have been avoiding for a long time. In the sense that for the last 25 years we have been trying to hold dear to our old ways in a new connected world that is changing faster and faster. It has changed so much we see it as a new form of disruption, but in reality it has been led by market demand.”
C2 Melbourne will be a three day event for around 2500 people in the first year, with the aim of growing to around seven thousand people.
“The event will have around 15 different things you can do at any given time, so you can create your own program,” says Enault.
“And we help them do that to make the most relevant program for them. We have keynotes throughout the day but we don’t want you to watch them back to back, rather you should use the insight from one keynote to go into another session or lab to help you apply that learning into your own business. That’s the toolkit that people create out of that event that they can apply in their own business afterwards.”
C2 Melbourne will be held on October 17-19.