54 PCMA CONVENE SEPTEMBER 2017 PCMACONVENE.ORG
components. Instead of saying we’re reinventing the entire
event, we’re more reinventing a portion of the event.
For example, last year it was a great conference setting, but
we said we have to reinvent the venue itself for the main conference, because we’re too traditional. That’s why we bought a
Big Top, and now it’s a 360 [environment] with IMAX screens
and everything. Now the expectation is we can’t go back to a
normal room with concrete walls. We’re stuck a little bit with
the success that we’ve had with the Big Top.
Were there any elements this year that you know you need to
improve upon in 2018?
One of the failures of this year was to not have enough
participatory activities. Yet we [increased the number of
workshops and labs] fivefold, one year to the next. It’s kind of
amazing. We were actually worried that we would have way
too many, and that these activities would be empty.
It’s actually the reverse. Let’s face it, when you say
we’re going to have a fivefold increase year over year and
we still come up short, it’s not something that is natural.
This year was an “aha” moment for us. It was certainly a
disappointment for participants to not be able to participate
[in labs and workshops] as much as they wanted. When I say
that the main stage is 20 percent [of the program] and the
rest is 80 percent, maybe we’ll have to go to 90 percent, which
is very surprising. But I love it. That means that the labs, even
the Sky Lab, we’ll need to push them into even bolder areas.
One idea this year was the Cake Lab, and mixing food
with a business context was certainly very di;erent. When
we say we’re going to build a ball pit in the sky and we’re
going to have moderated brainstorms, it kind of works. Why
food? Where we’re going is that it’s exploring certain deeper
verticals. That’s how we come up with ideas. Food is one.
Energy might be another. Water and the environment might
be another. We go back to our roots — what it is to be human.
Ultimately we want to connect with the soul of the person.
When we touch that, that’s when the real thing happens.
The soul is a source of inspiration, because that’s how
we have brainstorms in electric boats on the canal, because
humans like to be close to nature, to water. There’s a certain
zen and calm that comes with water. [So we thought,] okay,
how about a brainstorm on water, right? That’s how it came
about. It’s not reading books, although that helps, but that’s
how we go and delve and try to reinvent every year where
Are these creative ways to interact what sets C2 apart?
I don’t know if you’ve been to Davos, but Davos is considered
the pinnacle of a business gathering, let’s face it. They’re
doing an excellent job at this, but it’s absolutely boring.
Everybody says so, 100 percent. The thing is, if you go there,