Sid Lee’s Jean-François Bouchard on Defining Success and What the Future of C2-MTL Looks Like

How do you know when an event is successful?

“To me, the sign of success was when walking down the side, a person stopped me —a young designer, early 20s, tattoos all over his body—and said, ‘Oh, I love this thing. It’s so stimulating,’” recalls Sid Lee co-founder and C2-MTL Chairman Jean-François Bouchard. “Then, later, this CEO of a large corporation, dressed in a suit, stopped me and said, ‘I can’t believe this thing is so stimulating,’—in those same words.”

The end of C2-MTL gave some hints as to what would be happening next year. The team was kind (and clever) enough to share:

  • Corporate pavilions where companies can hold a conference within a conference, Burning Man-style.
  • A C-suite boot camp where Sid Lee commissions C-level executives to create something awesome.
  • Possible appearance by French product designer Philippe Starck.
  • Enlisted the help of the audience for a Twitter campaign to get Sir Richard Branson to C2-MTL 2013. (P.S., you can join in by Tweeting @richardbranson with the hashtag #C2MTL.)

The nearly flawless integration of sponsors, the eye and attention to detail and aesthetic, and the excellent sources of information truly made C2-MTL stand out from the rest of the business conferences.

As an admittedly younger attendee, I was curious to see if C2-MTL was an outlier, or if there had been other conferences like it. To my delight, I found I wasn’t the only one in awe; when I remarked, “I’ve never seen anything like this before,” in many conversations, I found the person I was chatting with always grinned and nodded enthusiastically.

I only wish I could have been more innovative with my own crafting of this post. C2-MTL certainly deserved it. I’ve got some ideas for next year (uh, video – budget permitting). But, as I learned in a Burning Questions panel discussion, sometimes the best thing to do is think by doing, and never miss a deadline.

This post is a part of a series designed to cover C2-MTL. Have a look at the post that started it all here.