Backstage Pass is an interview series
with event organisers from around the globe.
We will be sitting down with the masterminds behind some of the most successful conferences and gatherings, giving you an exclusive look at the passion, dedication, and sheer effort that goes into orchestrating these impactful events.
Our aspiration is to create an indispensable resource for aspiring speakers and professionals by illuminating the selection process, the networking strategies, and tips for delivering impactful presentations directly from the organizers’ perspective.
Our first guest is none other than Maxim Jago. An accomplished public speaker himself (AND award-winning filmmaker, AND best-selling author, AND consultant Futurist) Maxim is the director of the Creativity Conference which will take place virtually October 3-5th. The event is a comprehensive exploration of creativity’s essence, thoughtfully designed for individuals and organizations dedicated to profound change.
The Creativity Conference
Introducing Maxim Jago
Maxim you have walked such a diverse and interesting path in your life. Would you tell me a few words about yourself? And what was it that inspired you to launch The Creativity Conference, who is it for, and what is the event out to achieve?
I began a meditation practice when I was eleven years old, after being inspired to explore the old questions about life, the universe, and everything (as Douglas Adams put it). I had read ‘Illusions’, by Richard Bach and was excited to discover new ways to understand what it meant to be alive.
After a couple of years I was introduced to photography and later to filmmaking. I was rather naive and didn’t realise you needed money to make films! I studied filmmaking, paying my way through film school by working in a call centre giving technical support.
This dual career start gave me a new perspective on intentional living and the power each of us has to choose our destiny. I wanted to be a Creative in the truest sense and I wanted to be the one doing it – that is, I wanted to get there under my own steam.
To achieve this, I worked as hard as I could to develop both careers, and all along the way I have continued to study and explore this thing called ‘Being’. I believe we live in a realm of existence where ‘being’ is ‘doing’. We participate in the creation of our own future and the acceptance and embracing of this idea seems to mark a key turning point between childhood and adulthood. Are you ready to ‘own’ the fact that your choices create your future self?
Fast forward, rather a lot of years, and now I have the privilege to give keynotes all around the world, write books, direct films, host events, and continue to learn as much as I can – particularly by meeting amazing people.
This is a critical part of the inspiration for The Creativity Conference. I noticed that there were a lot of conferences that were really educational training events or were focused on an important challenge we face – whether it’s one or other kind of prejudice or a type of currently unsolvable health issue.
I wondered what would happen if we brought together some of the brightest minds in the world and invited them to share the wisdom they have gained from their experiences. I believe it’s experience that bestows wisdom, not age, and so there are some extraordinarily wise young people, and of course extraordinarily unwise older people!
What would happen if we created an environment in which profound thinkers could easily share their wisdom associated with joy, inspiration, and the manifestation of that inspiration in practical, actionable, specific terms?
In a way, The Creativity Conference is a time telephone but rather than calling your younger self, you share with other people who are at an earlier stage in their careers and lives.
We invite our speakers to speak about their joy, and what it is that inspires them so profoundly that they are compelled to create something truly new.
What sets The Creativity Conference apart? What unique aspects can attendees look forward to?
I suppose what sets The Creativity Conference apart is the brief we give to our speakers. We ask our speakers not to speak about techniques, technology, workflows, business skills, business branding, business development, social issues, legal issues, or anything that might be put on a numbered list of steps – like a tutorial.
Instead we invite our speakers to speak about their joy, and what it is that inspires them so profoundly that they are compelled to create something truly new. Then we invited them to share how they achieved it by giving practical, actionable, specific advice to their audiences.
The result is that audiences are enabled by having listened and learned. They are empowered and more able to create – and perhaps, I hope, more realistic about who and what they are. My hope is that people will be less at war with themselves and more in love with being alive.
The Creativity Conference is running a short film competition at the same time. Please let us know more about it.
Yes! Each year we aim to host a short film competition for any genre, with a maximum 60 second duration including the opening titles. This year we have had some great entries – though at the time of writing, the deadline has just passed. Let’s hope your readers will be inspired to enter our competition next year!
Our judges include Cirina Catania – Co-Founder of Sundance, Elliot Grove – Founder of Raindance, Chadwick Pelletier – Founder of the DaVinci International Film Festival, and Bob Jacobs – at NASA Media.
Choosing speakers must be quite a task! How do you go about selecting them to ensure a diverse and impactful lineup?
My definition of creativity is ‘any intentional decision.’ This means creativity can be expressed in the more traditional sense of painting pictures, writing songs, or choreography, or in any way that leads to new future outcomes.
Perhaps you are founding a new kind of company, raising a child, designing educational materials – even developing a particularly intentionally designed spreadsheet.
To make intentional decisions, I believe it’s necessary to embrace what is real – to seek to understand it. Next, you must make choices about the future of reality and set out to manifest those choices to make a new reality.
In this way, people who make intentional decisions are active participants in their own lives – not passively allowing life to happen to them but instead transforming themselves and the world around them. They are self-realising – and this is a very important thing to do.
All of our speakers contribute their time for free – and they share profoundly important truths about the creative process that our audience can apply to their own practice.
Networking and collaborating with like-minded people is one of the most meaningful aspects of attending an event. Are there specific activities and strategies that you have set in place to facilitate these collaborations?
For our future planned in-person conferences we will have beautiful spaces in which people can meet and share ideas – and we arrange social events for unplanned connections to emerge. There’s a certain magic in random encounters that can, perhaps, only happen in-person.
Still, for our online conferences we also hosted evening social events where everyone can share the insights that moved them the most deeply each day.
Will you share a stand-out moment or inspiring success story from a past conference that really embodies what this event is all about?
There’s one experience that really shook me and showed me that I’m not imagining the value of this event: After the first day of our first conference, during our social meetup, one of our attendees thanked me for running the conference. They cried as they described their joy at finally finding their tribe, their family, their circle. I was deeply moved by the strength of their feelings.
We aren’t selling anything and we don’t have a particular agenda other than to give our attendees new ways to live the lives they truly wish to live – new ways to express their truth and to be helpful in the world
You might help the world by writing a poem that changes the lives of millions, or perhaps you’ll have a conversation with a stranger at a bus stop and transform their day.
I believe that human fulfillment is in the service of others. If you can find a way to be helpful and live a life of service – by choice – well, joy is at the end of that path.
Maxim, thank you so much for your valuable time and your generous contribution. I would like to wish the best of success to The Creativity Conference, and to you personally. May you continue to inspire people with your passion.
The Creativity Conference takes place online between 3-5 October 2023, and it is free to attend. You can register at www.creativityconference.is
More engaging interviews and articles are to come in the Backstage Pass series as we will continue to unravel the intricacies of event planning, uncover emerging trends, and share the stories of more remarkable conference organizers from diverse backgrounds. Stay tuned 🙂