The Entrepreneur of the Future

The Link Goes Behind the Scenes at C2-MTL

Robert Safian, who spoke at the conference, feels that there has never been a more uncertain time than now for economic stability. Photos Charles William Pelletier
Rex Jung spoke of creativity, and how it can be enhanced through practice and exposure.

Over 35 internationally renowned professionals and leaders in the fields of innovation, creativity and business gathered in Montreal from May 22 to 25 for a unique and elaborate international conference on new ideas in business and commerce.

Not sure what sort of unique new ideas they were into? Well, for one, the conference was home to a “data visualization project” called Knitterstream, which turned people’s tweets into scarves—really.

If you didn’t hear about C2, you’re not alone. Only those invited (about 1,000 people from all over the world) and a select few with the right sources knew anything about it.

Luckily for you, however, The Link was one of those sources. Here are some highlights from the conference:

C2-MTL (for Commerce and Creativity), was the first conference of its kind. The stated goal of the assembly was, “To find creative solutions to today’s business problems.” They wanted to find the roots and utilities of creativity in the business world.

So here’s one for the MBA students and the designers, the future architects, the programmers and the writers: According to the folks at C2-MTL, a new breed of professional is emerging, and they call this hybrid “The Creative Businessman.”

According to Robert Safian, Editor for Fast Company, times have never been less certain (professionally, and in terms of economic stability) and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get better soon.

Along with the fast-paced changes and developments in markets and investment patterns, he says, comes opportunity—in many different forms. And it’s a unique set of individuals who thrive and benefit from it: multi-skilled, adaptable and flexible entrepreneurs.

This “new” or rather “particular” breed of businessperson, capable of thriving in what Safian described as “chaotic” times, is an individual with more tools in their toolbox, more languages, more diplomas, experiences and a refined combination of professionalism and creativity.

In short, Safian painted the image of who and what this conference was promoting.

Success stories abound in places like these, but one thing you notice is that, by and large, successful modern entrepreneurship is about having an original idea and then doing something about it.

Let’s zero in on that for a bit—the concept of creativity. According to Bertrand Cesvet, Chairman of the award-winning creative agency Sid Lee (based in Montreal), being creative is less of a skill and more of an experience.

In short, it is not something that you can turn on and off, and it is non-transferable and cannot be taught to others in any way. In other words, you either have it, or you don’t.

But don’t give up hope yet, because neurosurgeon Rex Jung (University of New Mexico) says it doesn’t stop there.

Creativity, he says, is also like a muscle. You can be born more or less feeble like you can be born more or less creative. And like any muscle, you can train it, not through exercise, but through exposure and experiences.

The new professional model is less and less static and more and more adaptable. It’s about constantly learning and evolving in reaction to the environment.

In the face of change, one of the elements touted as an asset is creativity—and the power to innovate that comes with it.