I’ve just got back from the annual global get-together that’s organised by Creative Social. This year, the event was held in Copenhagen, Denmark.
It’s been just over a year since I was invited to become a Social, and I have to say that saying yes to that invitation is a decision I’ve long been thankful I made. Creative Social is more than a networking club; it’s definitely more than a jolly for senior creative people. In the past year, I’ve been lucky enough to either take part in, sponsor, or just sit back and enjoy, a huge range of events, talks, meetings and initiatives. Things such as The Great British Diversity Experiment, oh, and this most recent meet-up.
Copenhagen was fun. The city is one that can be walked around in a day. It’s full of beautiful architecture – both old and new – and the people are tremendously friendly and welcoming. It’s like a laidback Amsterdam, with more fish dishes and rye bread.
The single thing that stood out, though, was the creativity that existed throughout the city. People were willing to chat, even to strangers from the UK, and share in their creative endeavours. I met a group of women from Ecuador and Argentina who were in the city to talk at an event around making cities safer. I lunched with artists, and drank coffee with entrepreneurs. Yes, coffee is something that you’ll never be short of in Copenhagen.
It’s interesting to note that there were very few coffee shop chains. I saw a couple of Starbucks, but I wouldn’t define the muck they sell as coffee so I’m not sure it counts. Independent coffee shops were to be found on almost every street. Each different in their own way. Each allowed to thrive because of that independence.
Inside every single coffee establishment I went into, I met someone making their living from doing something creative. We bonded over magazines and, in several cases, over me using Artefact Cards to plot some thoughts. There was a real openness across the city.
Beyond my own wandering and conversations, the team at Creative Social put on a programme that was inspiring to say the least. We spent the afternoon on the first day doing introductions in the best way possible – via a piece of work. A huge range of stuff was shown, and not that many adverts I will say. A lot of people showed personal projects, which tells you a lot about the CS meet-ups. I mean, the first rule of Creative Social is ‘No Egos’. The second is ‘No Egos’. That’s it, all the rules you need to know.
Despite everyone being very senior, the vibe of openness that Copenhagen showed was replicated throughout the group. And while there were some old friends to catch up with, the group also introduced me to some new people I’d never have met at somewhere like Cannes where egos are everywhere.
Following on from that we met the Copenhagen Suborbitals, an amateur group of space travellers. Yes, they are building a DIY rocket to take a person into space. This was really MVR – Minimum Viable Rocket – yet they have attracted funding and I have no doubt they’ll achieve their aim before too long.
The second day was spent at Space 10, a ‘Future Living Lab’ and exhibition space set up by Carla Cammilla Hjort, CEO and Founder of Rebel Agency, Trailerpark Festival and a number of other great creative initiatives in the city. An inspiring space and person kicking off day two.
The following hours were spent being wowed and amazed by a wide range of people, from the leader of a forest kindergarten to the man who set up a new political party for Denmark and secured around 9% of the vote in last year’s elections. I have a list of these people and some details of what they spoke about and where to find out more, but I mislaid my notebook and have yet to find it.
Take my word for it, there was a lot of fantastic stuff. I’ll update this post once someone else writes this up, or I discover my notebook, whichever comes first!
Back now in London, and I’m re-energised by my few days away, the great coffee that I drank (and brought back with me), the city I wandered around for hours, and the lovely group of peers who came along for the Creative Social ride.