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Creative Mornings Brussels: (R)evolution begins with breakfast

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Are you out of inspiration? Do you feel like you could use some food for thought? What if one day you woke up and instead of heading off straight for work or to uni, you took a detour for free coffee and pains du chocolat and for a mini expert talk to pump you up for the day? Not a morning person? Me neither. But just giving it a go seemed worthwhile.

Creative Mornings: breakfast for thought since 2008

The idea of organising monthly, short morning lectures right before going to work was born in 2008 in New York and has been since growing to over 100 cities all around the world. The event is organised in the following way: one topic is being discussed every month globally. This means that one Friday every month people in Paris, Cape Town, Jakarta or any city around the world where Creative Mornings take place, can attend a short talk followed by Q & A and free breakfast. The event starts at 8:30am and finishes at 10:00am, so you can share with your colleagues your experience afterwards. By the way, if your manager raises an eyebrow at you for being late, the Creative Mornings team has a convince-your-boss toolkit ready for you to use.

And I said what about breakfast at Beursschouwburg?

Brussels is a relatively new entry on the global Creative Mornings map, with the first talk held in May 2014. However, it aspires to develop and bring a game-changing networking culture in town. The events have been hosted at Beursschouwburg and you can find videos and pictures of all talks so far on the Creative Mornings Brussels team page. I was first introduced to the Creative Mornings concept by Ana Luisa Romero, the event co-organiser, who triggered my curiosity: “You will see, there’s a different kind of energy in the morning.” And so I booked my spot online, set my alarm and decided to give it a try.

My alarm went off at 7:00, my back-up alarm at 07:15 and the back-up of my back-up alarm at 07:30, but half an hour later I was on my way to Beursschouwburg, wondering how many people actually do muster the energy for an earlier than usual start, especially on a Friday morning after a busy *coughs, Place Lux* Thursday evening. At the entrance of the building I get my answer. People are waiting already. We are all greeted with a big smile by Carmen Vintilescu, the event host, and we reach the fifth floor and the smell of coffee is inviting us in.

“Do you think I should take out more chairs? Is it going to be full?” I hear the organising team trying to do a head count. “First time here?” small talk among participants seems to be easier in the morning, among people who join out of curiosity and line up for a croissant before walking to the terrace outside. It is indeed a beautiful morning and after getting some energy from the sunlight and the pastries, the audience is filling in the room. And yes, by the middle of the talk, the room was full.

(R)evolution at 08:30

June is the month of revolution for the Creative Mornings global community and Brussels decided to explore it through a special guest: Artistic director of Beursschouwburg, Tom Bonte. He outlined the strategy the Beursschouwberg team has adopted to open up the space to more audiences. In a way, Tom Bonte’s thoughts on revolution mirror how initiatives like Creative Mornings have managed to spring in Brussels. “I don’t believe in revolution. Revolution changes too quick, too fast. I believe in evolution instead, even if it seems more boring” he explained. The idea is that a set of small “explosions”, as he described the new ideas that found shelter in Beursschouwburg’s programme, can engineer a bigger change by a process of evolution. More highlights of Tom Bonte’s speech on the storify below:

“By involving more people in our activities, we did not have to invent everything. There are people with smart ideas”, the audience nods and seems to enjoy the mentality of embracing bottom-up ideas. Applause is loud at the end and people look energised and definitely awake.

If you feel like giving it a go, your next chance to attend a Creative Mornings talk is on 10 July, topic: Collaboration.

For more information, you can visit the Creative Mornings Brussels website.