Well, as discussed in last week's post, I invested two-and-a-half days of my time at the inaugural C2-Mtl creative conference.
The surroundings were majestic (see above and below). The folks at Sid Lee, the advertising/creative/disruption agency at the helm of the event, made good use of the mega-budget accorded them by literally creating a high-tech city, showcase and hipster "scene" in the rustic and often rusty confines of Montreal's Griffintown district.
But what the surroundings actually surrounded--the content, particularly the on-stage type--left me in a state of pondering right up until now.
Hence this post.
Despite a flow of heavy-hitters--from HuffPo's Arianna Huffington, Fast Company's Robert Safian and Google's Robert Wong to icons like Michael Eisner, Ian Schrager, Guy Laliberte and Francis Ford Coppola--the inherent difficulty of talking about creativity was, well...inherent. (To me, the guy who hit it furthest out the park was Jonah Lehrer, author of the best-selling book Imagine. Although standing at a podium and referring to a prepared text, the content within was so overwhelmingly smart that Lehrer connected far better than most others with a lot more whiz-bang happening on the Cinemascope-esque screen behind them.)
I always felt that talking about creativity was like reading a sex manual, or learning to ski by watching an instructional video on your iPad while at the beach. Being creative is something that's best explained by doing, not necessarily telling. But even there lies a paradox--what to do? To that end, what made me smile was the fact that so many people talked about taking risks, but did so via the comfort of puffy chairs, or as the third bullet-point in their PowerPoint deck.
Perhaps the most "creative" on-stage moment happened when the lights went out during one of the one-on-one interviews, a format that seems to stifle creativity rather than promote it. At that point, Dr. Rex Jung and Tim Barber had to improvise, creating a true "human" moment that cut through the formality and truly reached into the hearts and souls of the audience.
And that's when I got it.
Not just the most profound learning of the conference, but this week's lesson.
What's the secret of creativity?
It's having the wherewithal
to deal with what
the world throws at you...
...or having the guts
to throw something
at the world.
Sometimes "creativity" is a reaction; a moment in time where one's presence makes sense of disparate forces seemingly off madly in different directions.
Other times, it's proactive; being a catalyst, a spark, an iconoclast, a rabble-rouser.
That was easy, wasn't it?
Now, to actually do something about it...