This is the second year I attend C2Mtl, a conference on creativity & commerce which attracts the world in my favorite city (Montreal!) for 3 days. This year I wanted to attend because of 2 speakers Richard Branson President of Virgin & Philippe Starck the great designer. But just like last year, my favorite moments & biggest lessons did not always come from the biggest names.
The main idea I left with is that creativity often happens by accident. It is not always researched for days & months. My second lesson: Everyone has their own rules!
Here is a sample of tips, quotes, what I learned & heard from this 3 day journey. Keep in mind I am no journalist so this is REALLY a sample:
The first speaker was Fred Dust, IDEO: « We help organizations innovate & grow ». From him I learned that observing is a great tool. Don’t assume it should always be done in one way, the same way. Kids are the best designers. Tune out to the world around you, don’t just stick to your world! To be creative you have to be courageous, brave, test it & Hope, Be POSITIVE, Be like a kid!
Blake Mycoskie, TOM’S Shoes. Making a difference. WOW! I love this guy! For every shoes he sales, 1 pair is given to a child who needs them to walk to school. »One for One ». In the beginning, He had to put an ad on Craig’s list to find interns to answer the demand. He believes & is the proof that it is possible to make money & give at the same time. He was not ready at all when Vogue covered his story. People are not really buying the shoes but the idea of giving. People love a good story, they LOVE his story and they tell everyone. The consumers become the best ambassadors. (Funny because this is what I tell my clients why they should make videos with their satisfied clients!!). « To make your problems disappear, engage your employees, see the smiles: Serve locally ». « Tom’s NEVER did traditional advertising ». Check out www.toms.com
Chris Bangled BMW, told us to « never limit ourselves ». Be « on the move ». There is always a better way of thinking about your brand.
Jean Philippe Starck, famous international designer. I didn’t know but he designed a very impressive boat for Steve Jobs. « I am a professional dreamer ». « Creativity is everything! ». « Do with less ». « You will be bionic in 5 to 10 years ». « Always be polite! » « Rise your vision to the highest ». « We have to save the world ». Funny & interesting man, he would like to change the world with his design, I really think he can. To know more fascinating things about him, check out « Design for Life » on the BBC & watch episodes of the future by Starck.
Barry Diller, Expedia Inc.,Media Savvy, responsible for the success of Saturday Night Fever, Grease, Indiana Jones, Cheers, The Simpson,… & Expedia. « I am not good at hight math, BUT I know how to add! ». I thought it was different when he declared: « I never had a goal, if I had one I would be terrible » « If you are not doing damage, you are not doing anything interesting in business! » I thought THAT was interesting!
John Mackey, Co-Founder, Whole Foods, : »Create a conscious culture ». « You have to constantly create value but not just for shareholders but for everybody ». Whole Foods does a good job with innovating in store for their consumers. Fun fact: At Whole Foods, they end every meeting with an appreciative comment, I found that to be a fantastic idea!!
Bobbi Brown, owner of the fantastic make-up company of the same name. She started her talk with this: « I had D’s in math! » well, that obviously did not stop her from making millions$$!! She did make up for free & never said « no » when she started. She first sold her lipstick from her basement. « I did not invent the natural look, but I definitely adapted it & made it better! » « My 1st rule is: »Be nice to everyone » « My priority was always my family » that was refreshing to hear from an Icon. « I did Naomi Campbell’s 1st VOGUE cover » « I turned down Ralph Lauren » all our jaws dropped when she said that. Her last sentence: « I am shooting a new YouTube channel, real-time videos » (Told ya videos are « IN »!!) Check out www.BobbiBrowncosmetics.com
Steve Brown, Intel: « At every intersection is an opportunity ». « Technology & culture will become one ».
Diane Von Furstenberg, Creator of the wrap dress 40 years ago. Her mother was a prisoner of war, she weighted 49 pounds, this was a great motivation for her to be the best that she could be: « I did not know what I wanted to do but I knew the woman I wanted to be ». « To go UP is hard, to stay UP is even harder! ». « There are no shortcuts! » « Have a reason to be, a reason to stand & stay relevant » Forty years later, she is still relevant. Check out www.DVF.com
Richard Branson, Virgin. « Creativity is business getting creative ». « A Business is making a difference in people’s lives ». « The way to survive is to be a lot more creative than your competitors ». I love this one: »I NEVER have a meeting with accountants before experiencing an idea! » « I never go into an idea to make money, I always do an idea out of frustration » (for example, his frustration with existing airlines led him to making a better one). « I think humour is important, do not take yourself too seriously » « I was brought up not to waste 1 minute of my life ». He is very active & looking for solutions around the world for » the war against drugs ». I was really impressed with the generosity of this man. He seemed interested in every person in the audience. I was charmed by his simplicity. Really a great man. Watch his movie « Breaking the taboo ».
When going to this kind of conference I think we go hoping to find « The Rules » of these Business geniuses in order to used them later. Well, there are no real secrets, no rules, but, there is a pattern: Lots of hard work, always innovate, be courageous, have your own niche, be different, find allies, do good & always, always BELIEVE!