Speaking at the annual event’s opening general session at the Montreux Music and Convention Centre (2M2C) on 27 January, Piccard explained that when tackling a problem, it is essential to learn how to change direction.
"As human beings, we are full of ballast: conventions, dogmas, paradigms," said Piccard, who completed the first non-stop balloon flight around the world in 1999.
"When we face problems, we desperately try to hold all that ballast in our hands, because we believe it makes us stronger. But we have to throw it overboard. Innovation comes from throwing all the paradigms away."
Piccard added that collaboration was critical to success, as rather than reinforcing traditional ideas, other people will criticize and "call our certainties into question".
Piccard joined MPI chairman of the board Kevin Hinton at the opening sessions, which also featured music from Swiss Alphorn player Eliana Burki, and a presentation from Mark of a Leader founder Doug Keeley.
Hinton told events professionals: "Face to face meetings give rich dialogue. That is what we are here for; to drive new thinking.
"As meeting professionals, we provide the platform for our attendees to drive business outcomes and deliver real-life impact."
MPI’s EMEC 2013 is taking place in Montreux, Switzerland, from 27-29 January.